Monday, December 6, 2010

tis the season for awkward moments.



Yesterday afternoon, my best friend and I decided a weekly Cracker Barrell run was in order...our bodies clearly deficient in sawmill gravy and bacon grease. As we pressed onward though the after church masses (who clearly didn’t listen to a sermon on restaurant etiquette)- an unassuming stranger in a snowman sweater approached me. The elderly woman grabbed my arm and said very earnestly, "bless you."

I had not sneezed, so my immediate response, a polite smile and a, "thanks…happy holidays. " I diverted my attention to some kind of felt santa stocking to bridge the silence.

Kristen looked at me dumbstruck and said, "seriously, why is this happening so frequently? You don't even flinch." Shrugging, I said simply, “well it’s the holidays.”

That is the simple truth. There is a phenomenon that strikes yearly amid the thankuhmas hubbub. People tend to vocalize everything they think, as if there cheerful words are quarters in the Salvation Army Kettle. Don't misunderstand. The woman's intentions were very honorable and very sweet, but awkward nonetheless.

I wish this had been an isolated incident, but Kristen’s assessment was correct. Just the day before, she had bore witness to a similar, yet more bizarre interaction.  I was sitting at the bar, having lunch and keeping Kristen company, as she tended bar. The place was pretty dead, except for a few large Christmas parties going on in the dining room.

 As I picked at my baked potato, I got completely caught off guard by a disheveled looking woman exiting the bathroom. Her face glowing, she caressed my arm and said, “oh my goodness! It’s so good to see you out. “ I scanned her face trying to make some correlation between my life and this lady in the Scottie dog holiday jumper, assuming that it was maybe a coworker of my mother or friend of my father’s. [Tangent: “I’m glad to see you out” is something I have heard repeatedly since I got out of the hospital. I have even run into people that took care of me in the ER who said the same thing, so that simple phrase was not an indicator of awkward conversation to come.]  

But then the floodgates opened and verbal diarrhea began to pour out of her mouth, commending me on my bravery for dining in public. I quickly realized I had no idea who this woman was. Instead of distant acquaintance, she was just some weird random woman, attending a holiday party for a Scottie Dog Rescue Society. I daresay she was never schooled on tact.

 This simple conversation would not have been so bad had she not used the same intonation reserved for poodles or infants.[Tangent: I was waiting for her to say “that’s a good girl,” at any moment.]. She also refused to take a hint that I was uncomfortable with her misguided compliments. She just stared at me, awestruck as if my genitals were exposed.


Who do I place at blame for this weird holiday trend? TINY TIM. That ass really ruined it for the rest of us around this time of year.  It seems he really set the standard.
 *This Tiny Tim...not this one... 


I feel like you would never go up to a black person or a gay person and tell them they are really remarkable for being out among “the regular folk.” You would get slapped. [Tangent: I don’t have the physical reach to get a good punch in, anyway.]

Why is it ok to have those thoughts, much less vocalize them towards someone that is disabled? While I appreciate the kind thoughts, I feel like they put me in a weird spot. Despite making the giver feel like they are doing a good deed, they make me uncomfortable. A simple smile really would have done the trick so much better.

There really isn't much else to say, but...I guess...God bless us everyone.

1 comment:

  1. In the words of the weird lady at Boscos: "I love wheelchairs! Glad you're here!"

    ReplyDelete

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