My Life Doesn’t Look Like Yours

One of the things that always surprises and delights me is the kind of trouble human beings get themselves into despite specifically desiring to stay as far away from anything embarrassing as possible. David Sedaris wrote a piece about a time when, at a German hotel, he mistook the manager’s own apartment for the dining room and accidentally sat down to eat breakfast with the man’s family. I normally think of myself as a little too cautious, a little too petrified of public embarrassment to fall into such ridiculous events, but…

…there was the time that I accidentally swallowed the ball of my tongue stud while marching in a parade dressed as a nun…

…and that time that I tore out the rear end of my swimming suit at a popular natural swimming hole and couldn’t get anyone in my family to bring me a towel…

…the many, many times I have found out-of-context meat in Chicago…

and I remember that the mere act of stepping outside one’s front door can lead one to the strangest places.

Today, I went to an appointment with a man that I had never before seen, but with whom I will be working for a while. I had to wait for our appointment, and rather than him coming to the lobby of his building to call me in, he telephoned me, asking me to walk the 25 feet to his office. I didn’t think much of it, but when I saw him, all became very clear.

He was missing a limb.

For the length of the time he and I were conferring, he squirmed and wriggled and grimaced, making it very plain that he was in pain. After a while, he asked me “Does this bother you?” I told him no, but it looked as though it bothered him. He said that no, it didn’t bother him, he was fine. It was a little uncomfortable, though.

“Well, it must be very new,” I said.

“No, not really. This has been like this for, oh, two months.”

Two. Months.

I have now been sucked into that sitcom where the hyper neurotic woman must learn how to work with the handicapped former athlete in denial. It won’t have a laugh track, and a lot of the laughs will be the kind where you’re wincing at the same time.

One response

  1. Pingback: Radio Free Silence « What Monkeys Think

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