Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

6 Feb

Don’t you hate it when a piece of toilet paper gets stuck on your shoe, and you parade around for, I don’t know, maybe thirty or forty years, and no one tells you it’s there, so feeling like a perfect idiot, you nonchalantly try to take it off, but when you bend over to do it, everyone in the room sees and laughs so hard they cry; and when you’re standing there feeling stupid, you start to get angry, wondering why nobody bothered to say anything to you about it for all those years, and then you realize everything that’s led you to this point of humiliating clarity, is just about to get a whole lot worse, and everything does, and you’re struck nearly dumb, by the realization that everything you’ve swallowed since Day One, was a load of genetically altered super seeds designed by aliens who implanted them into your brain when you were a baby just sitting there, minding  your own business, drooling and sticking plastic toys in your mouth, and the person you thought was your mother, was a government issued robot, and the spoon she always fed you with was a derivative of plutonium, and the FDA knew it all along and did nothing?  Don’t you just hate it when that happens?  

Well, I do; and while it doesn’t have to happen often, it does require that an entire series of seemingly unrelated incidents converge in your brain simultaneously, in a merciless ‘Light-Bulb Moment’ you will use for the rest of your life, to divide time into Before and After categories.

I confess, there were many, many mitigating factors that were partially responsible for the shift in my vision that resulted in a philosophical ‘Do Over’ inside my personal house. But outside forces were at work as well, leaving a bread crumb trail I followed to the edge of the cliff, at which point, I thought about it for a moment, then turned on my heels.  Walking away from the sheeple leap, I chose a different path through the woods, forgoing city life altogether this time. I had no idea how isolating the choice I’d made would feel; and were it not for amazing technological gains, I might have died of boredom where I stood, or worse even than that, I might have returned to the stampede, jumping as a single unit into the surety of despair, leaving behind all traces of the soul inhabiting this sturdy, curious body of mine, and all for the certainty of having friends and feeling as if I truly belonged.  

Connie was a friend of mine.  A preacher with a mean streak paired us as prayer partners about a million years ago.  She bore little resemblance to the masks and costumes I wore.  Hers were tailored, classical; the perfect picture of the perfectly successful business woman, juggling the world with one hand, reading an impressive cache of self-help and spiritually enlightening books with the other.  I, on the other hand, was doused in domesticity, Earth Mother from the garden roots to the split-end crown.  The only books I owned, outside half a dozen Bibles, were fictional forays into hazy, ill-defined realms of romance and questionable behavior.  I know the good Reverend was trying to heal my wayward soul with the prayers and the unavoidable company of a ‘Good Woman’.  But he failed.  Almost from the beginning, Connie and I genuinely liked one another, and in the most extraordinary way, balanced each other’s far leaning tendencies to elevate personal goals so high we believed they’d not be missed by casual observers, thusly, gaining the acceptance and respect we craved.

There were hundreds of pot holes in our lives, and Connie and I had filled them with community and church-approved repair materials; but, in spite of our best efforts, we were leaking oil.  So the relationship intended to ground, cut the only string tethering us both to the good earth; and off we floated, like giggling children.  In a couple of months, our reputations reached the scandalous level since we’d traded church for fun.  We parked our RV’s side by side in a park a few miles from home.  We brought our husbands together every weekend in a forced friendship, and we melded two households of children into one.  Those were the days spent exploring inner worlds as comfortably as external realities.  Two years into the fun, my family moved away and Connie and I fell into new roles of pen and telephone pals.  She returned to church, doing something that looked to me like ‘social penance’.  It didn’t make sense to me.

In time I returned to college for a degree in Nursing Science.  I thought Connie would be happy for me; I was surprised by the cynicism I heard in her voice.

Well, Beverly, science is a good thing as long as you don’t push it too far….

I wondered if she believed the same about knowledge. 

Months passed between us, and during one of our last conversations, she mentioned her cousin had given birth to a child with water on the brain. I thought explaining Down syndrome would be helpful, but Connie insisted the baby had been born deformed because its mother had eaten bad potatoes when she was pregnant

I made the mistake of laughing out loud, believing Connie was making a joke; she was not.  The world is full of well-read people whose beliefs are not grounded in truth; many are quite defensive about it, and loud.  I enraged a friend when I challenged a belief she held.  It wasn’t my intention to do so.  Stephen King says, “If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered anyway.” 

After I found the toilet paper on my heel and tore it off, I understood quite personally what Mr. King was trying to say.

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4 Responses to “Don’t you just hate it when that happens?”

  1. Gypsy February 6, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    Ok. I may not be quite as clever as one might imagine, having taken a bit to much benadryll today, suffering in the black mold apartlem I am forced to live in for a while, I don’t know how long…
    Habit. in bathroom, wash hands. get paper towel. Check heels before leaving restroom, and it necessary use still held paper towel to remove any remnants. use paper town to open RR door, unless they run you through a rat maze to get out. after exit is secured throw away paper towel. In case of blowers, bring your own towelettes. Lesson complete

    As for friends. I had a best friend in College named Kayla, who was a submissive good Souther Christian wife. She is on her third husband as are most of my friends with this Christian Cinderella fantasy. Once her second husband sugessted that she leave her own child, giving up custody, while he moved to another state trying to regain custody of his child, and spending all their money in the process. I of course tried to explain how illogical that was, at which time her husband said I was an unchristian influence on her and forbade her from speaking to her. Things got better when she left him finally, and returned to my ever loyal friendship. However, her present husband is not much better. He didn’t like her one cat she had loved for years and when they moved out by the lake, he required that this previously completely indoor neutered boy cat become an outside cat. Strangely enough, it dissapeared the first night. Kayla thinks is ran off, but I know it is dead. And I hate this man she married with a passion. If a man tell you to get rid of an animal, for non-allergic reasons, he is a bastard control freak, and it will only get worse. She clings to the Bible to give her the strength to be the good Christian wife that she has been brain-washed into believe has anything to do with the words of Jesus, and is overdosing on anti-depressants, yet can’t figure out why…You can’t save everyone…

  2. Billie Bell February 6, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    Great story and well written…I remember those days. When I see the photo that accompanies the piece, I can hear Poppa saying, “I resemble that remark.”

  3. Crissy February 7, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    Great story…and who wants to be a part of “polite society” anyway!

    • ittymac February 7, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

      I lost my sweet, sticky Southern nice in New Jersey. It hurt when it happened, but like most unpleasant moments, it was exactly what I needed. Thanks for the feedback, Crissy!

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