Yep, goofy should have been my middle name instead of what I ended up with. But, I’m not complaining. My mom had to name 6 kids. I was the first, so I figure she was just practicing names when I was born.
My son’s dad sent me a few photos recently. These were taken way back when we were in our late 20s traveling in japan together. We did end up breaking up in the end, but mostly I remember the good parts. And there were many of those. Love is still love, even when people go off the rails.
We zipped around Japan on the bullet train and ate all kinds of strange foods. We even took a trip through a Japanese emergency room when our little guy pitched a fit so hard over a diaper change that his eyes rolled up in his head and he went into convulsions. The first doctor that approached us knew very little English. The only thing he said was “epilepsy” and “grand mall seizure.” I wasn’t buying it.
Finally an English-speaking doctor was trotted out and he explained that it was nothing to worry about. Babies can have tantrums so intense that they actually knock themselves out and come to in a few minutes, none the worse for wear. This is much more common in boy infants than girl infants. Why am I not surprised?
My son was in interesting little critter when he was a baby. He’s the only baby I ever heard that didn’t cry when was he was born, instead he giggled. I remember thinking “now this is a kid after my own heart.” I taught him how to swim in a hot tub when he was 6 months old. He loved it and would slither around and play like a like a fur-less sea otter.
Japan was where I discovered, by a rather circuitous method, that I had no wisdom teeth. What I did have was a horrendous pain in my jaw and was convinced that it was my wisdom teeth trying to come in. After looking at an X-ray, the dentist told me that they were already removed. I insisted that they had not because I would the first to know if they had been removed.
With me being in incredible pain and the dentist being disgusted with an uncooperative patient, the encounter escalated into a shouting match. The nurse panicked and called the American Embassy in Tokyo to ask for help in translation. So with the assistance of an Embassy translator, we ascertained that I had a cavity in a molar that needed filling and the dentist pretended to believe that I never had wisdom teeth inthe first place.
I asked the translator to apologize to the dentist for my rude behavior. The translator said that the dentist wished to apologize as well. Nothing about the look on his face conveyed regret, but I let it slide because he was the one with the drills and the pain meds. Years later I found out that having no wisdom teeth is not all that uncommon. Maybe that explains a lot?
I hereby for-with, do formally and unequivocally grant myself the right to be silly. Life is just too short. My days of jumping through hoops is about to come to a screeching halt. “What will people think?” has got to be the most insidious mind control twist ever. I don’t know what will people think? That I had a good time? That I’m certifiable, call the padded van? Don’t know, don’t care.
Who is this “they” that we all worry about. I think women especially are raised to have this internal sensor switched on in high gear. “Oh if you do that, people won’t think you’re a nice girl.” After 55 years hanging around the old planetary water cooler I have yet to hear even a second-hand tale of anyone who got any benefit from that kind of “niceness.” The nice that you are when you allow others to take credit for your accomplishments. This nice you are not when you refuse to do someone’s work for them while they goof off. Nice girls don’t get angry, Nice girls don’t stand up for themselves. If you were my friend you would…wash my car for me, babysit my cat for 3 months, drive in the middle of the night to come to my house and scratch my left eyebrow.
It’s amazing what people will expect you to do. And are shocked when you don’t go along with the plan. One time my daughter and I were on a train in Boston, chatting away, people watching and just in general having a good time. A woman who was financially endowed, shall we say, climbed on the train. She was fur clad, dripping with jewelry, hair shellacked into some kind of blond helmet. In each hand was huge handful of Neiman Marcus and Sax Fifth Avenue shopping bags. She looked around, walked down the aisle, stood over me and said “get up, I want your seat.” No please or anything. This woman was not much older than me and certainly not in the category of ‘be nice and give the elderly person your seat.’ Something about having my daughter with me made me think carefully about my answer. The last thing I wanted to do was set the example of a wishy washy scullery maid. Finally I looked at this woman, smiled a big smile and and “no, thank you.” She stomped her foot in an immature mini tantrum and walked off down the train. Maybe she bullied someone else out of their seat. I didn’t look to see. It was something about her sense of entitlement that just galled me.
When I travel I love to be open, ask dumb questions, pretend to not read the signs. There is no way you can pass yourself, as a local so why try? I talked at the JFK memorial and got scolded by a guard. I leaned too far over to see a Faberge Egg and set off the alarm. I lost my day pass at the Imperial Gardens in Tokyo and almost caused an international tourism incident. I laughed at the appetizer at a snooty hotel in Hong Kong. It was chunks of tofu with hotdog relish. Charging $20 for it didn’t make it a bit more sophisticated. I send my food back if it’s horrible. I climbed up the Statue of Liberty with a silly green crown hat on. I eat food from street vendors and don’t care if it dribbles on my clothes.
When I got older I’m going to enjoy that too. My walker will be metallic pink with racing stripes and a bicycle bell. I’m also going to refuse to wear a hearing aid but instead use an ear horn and crack up laughing at people trying to shout down it. I will still pretend to not understand and do as I please. Life is to be lived, loved and enjoyed. This is not a dress rehearsal, folks.