for all my big talk

For all my talk about not judging people by their exteriors, I should be labeled a big fat hypocrite. I should be hung out to dry. I honestly don’t see people’s exterior stuff for the most part. It doesn’t play into my heart-felt impressions of a person ninety-nine point nine percent of the time. Not race, not weight, height, sexual orientation, shoes, or the fact that they may be chewing on the flesh of an abused animal. I look at people’s eyes, I listen to what they say, I try to see where they hang their hearts. And then it all goes to shit when I see the first of the forty thousand University students flooding back in, increasing the population of my midwestern college town by another third. It takes one pair of Dolce&Gabbana sunglasses to set my teeth on edge. It’s the attitude — “I own the fucking place and you are my servant”– that I react to. And I don’t have any reason to suspect that that girl, in the D&G’s and the miniskirt that would probably reveal her pubic hairs if she hadn’t had them removed with lasers because I heard from a young male acquaintance that men his age do not like pubic hair on women and every woman he knows has it all removed, feels that way. She may be a perfectly nice person and I’m a judgmental fool with my body sprouting hair from every crevice. I’ll bet the fucking farm that she owns Ugg boots and drives a gas-guzzling SUV. That one day she will glare at me from behind her cell phone call when I dare to assert my ownership of the tiniest strip of road I can take up as I bike in to work. There I go again. I can’t stop myself. I judge and judge and judge these kids. And then I get over it for a day or two. And then one of them looks down his or her nose at the sorry-looking, forty-six year old woman who should get out of their fucking way and take her crow-footed self off to some pasture somewhere where old cows go to die. Maybe she even yells something to that effect, unbalancing me for a moment. Because the world is theirs and I am nothing.

I breathe. Breathe in now. Breath out decades. Breathe in and out and in and out of forty-six years of an amazing lifetime of beauty and joy and sex, adventure, knowledge, love and death and the miracle of a human being created from my very own body. Pain, healing, spirituality, building, breaking, floating, losing and reinventing myself over and over and over again. All is good. All of this is ahead for these children. Most of it will happen to them and change them into wiser adults. Perhaps. I still hold out hope for myself, that I will be a wiser adult, that I won’t be pushed off center by a look, a pair of sunglasses, an attitude. The world is mine, too, and I am everything I am.

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