Do you ever stop to think, “At what point in my life did I become aware of this?” Like, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t born knowing who Britney Spears is, but I can’t for the life of me pinpoint the time and place where I actually acquired that knowledge.
I do, however, know exactly when I learned about eye color–not only what mine was, but that eyes even had the capacity to be colorful. I was in preschool. The teacher was dismissing everyone for recess. To stagger the release of twenty-five hyper four-year-olds who’d been hitting the Mango Capri Sun pretty hard, she would usually say something like, “If you have blond hair, you can go outside,” and then, “If you have red hair, you can go outside,” and she’d make her way through the line. I guess it was inevitable that she’d eventually go for eye color.
And it’s not like I was shocked by this development. I didn’t think to myself, “Wait… eyes? Have color? What?” I simply accepted this, reached into the recesses of my four-year-old mind in search of that information for myself, and discovered it wasn’t there. I had no idea what to do. Everyone else knew theirs. I was the lone wolf. The logical thing would’ve been to pretend I knew and leave with a group at random, then check my eyes in the bathroom mirror. That’s what I should’ve done. What I did instead was hide under a table and cry so much they had to call my mom.
The term “iron lady,” though famously attributed to Margaret Thatcher, has actually come to refer to any woman in a position of power with a take-no-shit kind of attitude (like Hillary Clinton, Golda Meir, or Park Geun-hye). I aspire to be a take-no-shit type of person but I’m afraid I’ll only ever be a “whoops I just shot myself in the foot with this airsoft gun while explaining to my mother how safe it is” type of person.
I am beginning to think I got whiplash a few weeks ago when Allison and I were hit by that car. The last time I got whiplash was when I was rear-ended by a police officer. But I mean, this isn’t even impressive. The other car didn’t even hit us that hard. I’m just the kind of person things happen to. I don’t know what it is about me, but I tend to get hurt in the most moronic of ways. When I was thirteen, I accidentally stapled my own hand. When I was camping with my family that same year, I broke my toe because I pretended to lock my brother in the RV bathroom and he flung it open when he realized that, no, it actually can’t be locked from the outside, and I was hit with the door and knocked off my feet. I’ve bruised my tailbone twice, once when I sat down where there wasn’t actually a chair and once when I threw myself off of a roof. I have been shot in the head with Alex’s Airsoft gun. I once fell onto a Barbie Malibu Dreamhouse that didn’t even belong to me with the result that I ripped open my entire leg. I received two bloody noses during my short stint as the worst basketball player on our fifth-grade team, both because I wasn’t paying attention. I once fell out of a go-kart that my dad and my brother built and somehow managed to run myself over. I cracked my head open at summer camp. The first time I ever got stung by a bee was because I wedged a large stick into the hive.
I’ve gotten better with age, but for somebody who hates blood and needles and is very, very squeamish, I apparently had no sense of self-preservation at all as a child.
Freshman year I had sort of a thing for this guy Calvin. We had a class together that was notoriously difficult with a professor, Dr. Graham, who was notoriously difficult. We read a book called Cane by Renaissance author Jean Toomer. Not long after the class ended, Dr. Graham retired. I think that’s all the backstory you need for the following texting conversation:
Me: I’m applying for an internship and I have to send them my unofficial transcript and this forced me to reread the personal evaluation Dr. Graham wrote about me all those years ago, and as usual it gave me a mini existential crisis.
Calvin: The man cane in, he caused trauma, and then he quit.
Me: Was “cane” a typo or an allusion?
Me: He cane, he saw, he conquered.
And he never replied. I might come across as kind of amusing on the Internet, when I’ve had time to reflect on what I want to say (and then backspace it about 90% of the time and say something else instead). But my real-life sense of humor is pretty groan-worthy. I think it’s obvious why this relationship never took off.
I did not wake up yesterday morning and think, “You know what I should do today? Cut four inches off my hair.” And yet, that is what happened.
I have to make a distinction here, because I’m afraid you read that as, “I’m going to go have a professional cut four inches off my hair,” and that is not what I meant. I meant I personally cut four inches off my hair. Yes. I, the person who is so particular about her hair that she can’t commit to getting a simple bang trim, just went and lopped it off with no deliberation whatsoever. About 3/4 of the way through the procedure I had a moment of out-of-body clarity, wherein a distant voice in my head screamed, “WHAT IN GOD’S NAME ARE YOU DOING?” But I did not listen. The weather was warm. I was wearing capris. For some reason those two things meant it was time for a haircut.
I’m not sure if I regret it yet. I don’t know how good a job I did. I’ll be seeing my entire family tomorrow (I didn’t think about that either. I think by now it’s pretty clear I wasn’t thinking about anything), so I’ll see how they react.