Tuesday, October 26, 2004
A Brain as Big as an Orange
My cat, with a brain roughly the size of a mandarin orange, never gets writer’s block. I doubt that he would even be able to wrap his brain around the concept of writing since his verbal communication is limited to:
Pay attention to me now!
Feed me now!
Pet me more now!
Stop clipping my nails now!
I want to eat that bird / bug / thing I just vomited two seconds ago now!So even if he had opposable thumbs, writing would probably be a bit beyond him.
It’s also very likely that he wouldn’t volunteer for a local HIV/AIDS organisation as well. That’s something that I do. Even if he did volunteer for one, I doubt he would have heard this as he walked by the reception area:
... It’ll mean a lot of changes. Speaking of changes, I’d like to change him out of those clothes and lick ...... and the rest has been swept from my memory. Even if my cat hadn’t looked over to see the man’s crusty leer, it would have been clear that the comment was about him. Even if my cat didn’t have super-sensitive kitty hearing, he would have noticed that the comment was made loud enough for the entire reception area to hear. This made him an object but not a real participant in the discourse, a little like those websites where webcammed models will do whatever your e-mail tell them to do.
It’s a good thing that it was me and not my cat because he would have simply strode over and swiped at him violently his claws. That’s what he does to me when I rile him up. They’re pretty sharp. I don’t clip them often. My decisive action was to stand mute with very little going through my head. Then I walked away. A few seconds later a little angry string began to wind itself around my head.
I am rarely at a loss for words when angry. I like to say exactly what I think in as precise a manner as possible just so that there is never any confusion. I think that’s pretty considerate of me. It just makes sense to think ahead if you let the offending party know exactly how, in a memorable manner, they’ve offended, they may never do it again – to me, at least. I also like to allow myself my little rants every once in a while, and even on this blog I’ve shown evidence of it here and here and here, just to name a few. But this time I had nothing to say. I just walked away. Later, I talked about it with a few people, something that turned out to be of very little help at all.
One male friend responded was that if he had been hot, which he wasn’t by any stretch of imagination, I wouldn’t have minded. This leads me to believe that the man who said this actually think that he himself has the right to make these kinds of statements whenever and wherever he likes. This takes me back to my early and mid-20s when I looked much younger than I was – it wasn’t until I hit thirty that I began to look my age – and often had to fend off the assertive attention of older gentlemen, the stereotypes of whom had kept me cowering in the closet for several years. These charming encounters occurred in bars where you might expect such things to happen. In a bar you can leave, pour beer on the guy, or get your favourite bartender to kick him out. It’s very easy. What’s less easy is when it takes place where you don’t expect it, like in the middle of the reception area of an HIV/AIDS organisation where you volunteer.
One female friend’s response was, “Now you know what it feels like to be a woman”. My early 20s aside for the moment, I do live in a world in which both men and women frequently wear an article of clothing called ‘a wife-beater’, so I my thought process on this topic isn’t entirely vacant. But I do very much appreciate the implication that I somehow deserved it just because of who I am. That’s a great big help.
But they’re just words and words flow through you like air and then are gone. Most people, mostly women, experience far worse reactions to their sexuality, But they are words that, later, can elicit an incredible feeling of loneliness later on. The niggling suspicion that that strangers opinion of me is correct, that only my body is important, not my brain. This is a slight concern for as I age; the fact that I can now get married hasn’t yet opened a floodgate of proposals. My concern is that soon it will be true that that all I’m good for will be what he described me doing as if I weren’t there and that I will only be good enough for men like that.
I am certainly not opposed to a little attention. A little, furtive glance is alluring. A brief, bright smile is charming. A shy introduction may arouse a conversation. I don’t need to get married tomorrow or next year - or ever, for that matter. But lurid countdown of all the things you think I can do that will make you happy doesn't deserve anything more than a lip curl. For some reason, this embarrasses me. I’m not the one who should be embarrassed.
As I said, my cat who does things now! and has a brain the size of a mandarin orange would have turned the guys face shredded beef and would never be embarrassed. But this is a creature who runs into walls, falls into full bathtubs, eats bugs, and has been castrated, so he’s probably not a very good gauge in this.
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