I never know what to do when a person is staring at me, so obviously waiting for me to leave, whether it’s my vacating the register as soon as I receive my change or turning over to her the restroom sink in a punctual manner.
I try to be quick. Considerate. But my desire to consider others, and to avoid eye contact, is continually conflicted with my mental urgings to slow down and let them wait.
People are rarely concerned with the time they take to put away their change at the checkout counter, I repeat to myself, becoming increasingly hostile. My fists balling up as I grasp for my purse.
I have spent countless minutes awkwardly staring and then looking away, staring, looking away, at the girl occupying the only mirror in the bathroom. While she is more than content to blot and dab her lipstick as I fidget with fire in my eyes.
Maybe my awareness of myself and others is just more heightened than other people’s, I say to myself.
I feel the eyes boring into my neck. I imagine the long line forming behind me as I move faster and faster, hurtling change into my wallet.
Or maybe it’s not concern for others at all. Quite possibly it’s my fear of being looked at.
This desire to go unnoticed spans all the way back to birth. I swear I came out of my mother’s stomach with a trenchcoat over my head and squinty eyes, quiet as a mouse, praying no one notices me.
I have never wanted attention. I despise it. I always pushed it away like most children push away books and vegetables.
If I were crying and someone noticed me, my mom would push me into her leg as I only sobbed harder. The only thing worse than crying is having some adult in your face asking if you’re okay. I was 15.
This quality continues to haunt me today.
Instead of going to parties, I read. Instead of making human friends, I walk dogs. Instead of speaking, I write.
A couple of years ago I learned sign language in preparation of the day I would give up talking all together. But once I realized that signing was basically acting, I tossed it away in contempt.
I’m currently planning to take up braille.


The Moo part 2

August 17, 2010

I turned to view the glistening lake as the sun began to set, heard the grouchy acknowledgement of the goats as our group traipsed past, gazed upon the rows of tomato plants and corn stalks, leaned down to pet Sparky–the resident lamb being groomed to father the next generation of workers.

From this, I drew the conclusion that we city folk don’t really understand and almost can’t comprehend what we’re missing. And admittedly, maybe for some of us, that’s for the better. (Need I remind anyone of The Simple Life?)

But it’s experiences like these, opportunities to see real farms and enjoy a true from-ground-to-table meal that make it possible for us to truly cherish and understand how the earth works and the extreme effort involved in transferring it onto our dinner plates.

It still remains somewhat of a conundrum to me as to whether we’ve really come that far as an “improved” society.

As I sat on the screened-in, un-air conditioned porch, listening to the insects chirping in the warm summer darkness and peering into the vast forest, I couldn’t shake my deeply envious feelings toward those that enjoy the privilege of living this way every day.

And I concluded that maybe I didn’t want to shake it.

solitary Confinement?

January 28, 2010

Solitude enjoyment has become an illusive, fleeting object.

While we all need some amount of human companionship, everyone obviously craves different amounts of it. Admittedly, we all have to be alone each day. For some, it may only be when they’re in the bathroom. Still, others may spend the majority of their days alone.

Yet, it’s becoming easier to avoid solitary-ness. With cell phone advancements moving at phenomental speed, another human is only a touch of a button away. And of course that does not just mean voice-to-voice communication. Text messages enable ones to enjoy a continual conversation spreading on and off over days or maybe weeks. And Facebook and Twitter create lines of infinite communication. One post can reach hundreds of people. And in two minutes, you may have instituted 50 conversations. No one ever has to be alone again!

But, why is that such a desirable thing?

Is it because that’s how most of our great-great grandparents lived? Living on a farm with no one but family to be found for 100 miles–causing their offspring to swear off that lifestyle.

Do we think that any semblance of a similarity to past generations means we have not yet reached our potential as humans?

Maybe a little old-school living is what the doctor would order if we bought out the time to visit him. (Well, maybe a chiropractor or naturalist. Medical doctors would never prescribe anything not involving a bottle of sorts.)

In reality, I feel nothing but complete respect and admiration for those who enjoy being alone. Giving oneself solitary time illustrates a strong sense of self-acceptance and confidence. If we don’t know who we are as individuals, how can we offer ourselves to anyone else?

It’s not hard to locate those ones who detest spending time with themselves. They’re the ones who ironically can’t stop talking about themselves. Lack conversation etiquette. Start every sentence with I or my. The ones who rattle off movie and television lines constantly. And the ones who reference “hanging out with friends” on their resumes and Facebook profiles as their hobby.

I just recently joined the iPhone train. I’m not exactly proud of it. It always seems that the things I start out tirading against, like Starbucks and iPhones, are the very things the universe decides to turn on me and force me to fall to my feet in adoration.

But it’s the truth. I do, in fact, love the iPhone. But it’s also helped me to see even clearer the full capabilities people have to stay in touch with others all the time.

That’s a train I just can’t get on.