Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Down to the Sea in Ships, or well, Boats Anyway

"Down to the Sea in Ships" has such a lovely ring to it, but it is just that looking for the BIG tone that has led me into such dire straits these past few days.

You know how you have those dreams--nightmares, where you are doing something stupid and you know it is stupid and even your dream self knows it is stupid and they do it anyway?

Well, this failure to stop or reverse when I went careening down the path of foolishness started with my own little contribution to Joanne's boats. It started because, as in those dreams, I did not want to look stupid. I was told that Joanne needed folks to come and be filmed making paper boats. Because I did not want to look like the spatially challenged person that I am, I practised and practised and got tutoring for the last little folds. I had a little flotilla of paper hats (nope, even if my camera were working, I would not give you a photo of them. Have you seen the hats the real artists are making for Joanne?)

And then to make it worse, they didn't really need folks to be there. So I was not only not needed, I was in the way. It was like the day when I was thirteen years old and I broke 5 --yes, 5--of those heavy glass half gallon jugs of milk that had those precarious plastic handles. I think the milk that soaked into the patio beside the back door might still be there just to remind me if I ever dared step there again.

This inability to mesh smoothly with the external universe has been dogging my steps since then. When I was 13, I had adolescence and a sudden growth spurt as an excuse. These days, well, I don't like to think about old age as an excuse. I don't like to think about it at all, to tell you the truth.

It was our last day at the Bull Sale in Perth. I had managed for two days not to say or do anything outrageous--anything to give away the fact that I was impersonating someone who belonged there. I should have just kept smiling and nodding, but, instead, that perverse alignment of some naughty planets led me to try to say things in a crowded bar where I only heard about half of what was said and understood about half of that. As soon as I saw the look on the faces of the folks around me, I should have said--"Oh, whatever you think was not what I meant. I am trying to fit in and have made a gaffe, but I am really just a well-meaning, doofus." But nothing came out of my mouth.

So then I tossed and turned all night fretting about what could have or should have been said and what might happen when next I met those people and whether the earth could just swallow me up, but of course it didn't. As with Pandora's last gift out of that pesky box, I was not sure whether that was the good news or not.

OK, so now having made my mea culpa, I am hoping that I can get back to my customary acceptance of myself as a well-meaning fool and move a bit more smoothly into the rhythms of the world.


At 3:11 AM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

oh, how many times i've felt as if I didn't belong. Actually, those people may have forgotten your remark by now.

At 9:22 AM, Blogger landgirl said...

I hope so! There is a Burns poem, which I have not been able to find alas that talks about appreciating when someone does something amiss that we canna know what lies behind it nor how they rue it". I'll try to remember that when the shoe is on the other foot.


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