Friday, December 3, 2010


My situation this morning reminds me pointedly of the little old man with the top hat from Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, who so grinned and nodded, and appeared essentially and nearly entirely idiotic, despite the comfort his presence lent the narrator.  I am well onto halfway understanding the man's situation, except that my cold has not yet rendered me deaf.

I was in the copy room just now prepping for a day in which I pray my students will enjoinder my muteness, and the copy lady walked in.  She is a pleasant, jolly, and particular prolix woman, seemingly bent on discussing food--today, candied cranberries.  Normally I'm all for pointless small-talk when it regards "gustation," (thank you O, Brother, Where Art Thou), if nothing else, being myself, I think, particular gustatory and--though in the food sense only--epicurean.  Unfortunately, I could not effectively join the conversation (though I'm not sure she noticed) and was instead was only able to nod and grin.  So grin I did--just like the little old man in the top hat.

Now I get it--why he behaved as he did.  While I think I've always understood that he was not an idiot, though in Salinger's story he plays little more than the role of comfort and comic relief; now I understand he very likely was a man as torn and desperate--as human--as all the rest of us--not that I'm particularly desperate, torn, or average.  However, now that I can't talk, I'm worried, at least around adults, that I might be viewed as stuck up, stupid, more than a little bit terse, or just rude.  I'm not any of those things (I don't think), but as I've been called out for appearing so on many occasions though out my life, I did not--DID NOT--want to appear so today, especially to the kind, gabby, epicurean copy lady next door.  So I grinned and nodded and tried to make her feel like I was listening to her extended discussion on candied--she called them "sugared," actually--cranberries. least as long as it took for my copies to finish.  Lucky for both of us, another teacher, and this one without the absent gift of speech, came in for copies, and I could hand off the my position as her listening ear to him.

I wonder if she noticed that I left.

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