By the end of today, I wanted to duct tape shut the mouths of the people I was with so they could not utter another single syllable. It was okay if their bodies were littered about my house and also okay if they talked to each other. I just couldn’t tolerate another peep, word, remark, insight, story, or question directed at me, no more expectation of my engagement or response. Let me be mute in a mute world of my making.
Now that the world has been made safe for introverts, I no longer feel queer and antisocial or guilty about such terrible impulses. I feel entitled. I draw the line at one too many questions, well, one is too many.
Today, “where is the mayonnaise?” yelled the interrogator, the single bulb swinging from the kitchen ceiling. “WHERE IS THE MAYONNAISE?”
I must have my rest from all this hubbub, I think to myself. I’ve overextended and must be alone to recharge. Excuses are there for the plucking. I pluck.
Friday night I went to a cocktail reception celebrating the university program from which I graduated many years ago. Such events are always challenging because of my hearing disability. Add a lot of glass, high ceilings, and dozens of people murmuring and it becomes a living on the edge crap shoot whether I will hear any particular individual. It’s like some folks come in on the shortwave even though they’re in a hut in Mongolia and others across the street are an indecipherable scramble of static with no consonants.
This makes mingling dicey.
The first person I ran into was himself wearing two hearing aids. Within minutes, he confirmed that the passage of thirty years had taken away none of his bloviating capabilities. It was comforting knowing that he would talk for hours unimpeded, like the Shelley Berman LP I played over and over in the basement of my childhood home, Shelley stopped when I lifted the needle. Shelley didn’t expect a response from me and neither did Mr. Double-Amped.
I’ll stand here ‘listening’ to you, I thought, but cognition is extra. You don’t have that kind of money in your thin little wallet, sugar.
I lasted ninety minutes. When I got outside, I wanted to lie down on the cobblestone walk and rest, make bystanders feel sorry for me so someone would cover me with a man’s heavy coat. Instead I fumbled in my too small bag for my phone and pulled out a flurry of dollar bills that went spilling in front of me like I’d thrown them at the young men smoking and leaning against the railing. I felt like an escapee.
At home, unfortunately, the din continued throughout the weekend. It is times like these when I am feeling the impulse to tie my companions to kitchen chairs and gag them with the new towels I bought just last week from Target that I realize that my ridiculously low threshold for social interaction, even with members of my own family, probably goes beyond simple introversion to some kind of diagnosable condition that has wearing a Stormy Kromer hat as one of its symptoms.
This isn’t a call for sympathy or empathy, the difference between the two fugitive to me even at this advanced age. I know if I called for either, you might feel compelled to talk to me. Don’t. I’m pulling the ear flaps down. I’m done for now.
|Deb on Glamour Dog|
|Vickie on Old Beautiful Debts|
|deborah wenzler farr… on The End of Mean Charlie|
|Deb on The End of Mean Charlie|
|beth on The End of Mean Charlie|
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What happens here on Red's Wrap is all over the map. There is no single theme, no overarching gripe, no malady of my own or others that dominates. I write about what seems important or interesting at the moment and what aims me toward hope. I write stories, essays, poems - whatever fits the day and the mood. Nothing stays the same, here or anywhere. That's a good thing. Happiness. It's relative.
(c) Janice Wilberg and Red’s Wrap (2010-2023). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janice (Jan) Wilberg and Red’s Wrap with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.