Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

HUMBLED BY THE FALLING GIRL AND THE TURRETS BOY
I’ve officially pulled myself out of the pool of self-pity that I’ve been wallowing in, and decided to embrace adversity (aka my crappy job). A job is, after all, a job, and it pays the rent. So I started today with a brighter outlook, trusting that the 15 resumes I handed out this weekend would give the Universe something to work with in the form of putting me on another path.
As I was making my daily trek to the college cafeteria, I ran across a young woman whom I have seen almost daily now for weeks, but was too busy in my own mind to really pay attention to her. She’s just a tiny thing, barely 100 pounds, with a backpack that’s nearly as big as her whole torso. I see her everyday as I’m walking up the hill to the college, and she’s running down the hill. Running, as in full-speed. She has brown stringy hair and thick glasses, and some kind of issue with her legs. They remind me of a cartoon character; they bend oddly outward at the knees, so it appears as if they’re actually spinning as she runs.
And she’s always running down the hill. Like she’s been pitched forward and is in a perpetual state of falling. The first time I saw her I thought maybe she was running to catch a bus. But each day she continues to run, uncontrollably, down the hill, her backpack thumping against her back, arms flailing and legs spinning. I’ve thought on occasion that maybe she’s waiting for someone to stop her, her running is so out of control that I’ve begun to feel guilty, thinking she’s just gotten going and won’t stop until she runs into the wall at the train station at the bottom of the hill. Today I smiled and said hello, thinking that might slow her down. But she just ran right on past me.
Another daily interaction I’ve ignored is that of a young man, in his mid-twenties, who comes to the cafeteria for a cheeseburger daily. He speaks with a strong lisp, and it’s obvious that he puts a lot of effort into getting out what he’s trying to say. He usually approaches me at the counter slowly and in a calculated manner, then orders a cheeseburger with only ketchup. Today I noticed him the moment he walked in the door. I believe he may have turrets syndrome, or perhaps some form of Aspergers. Today, I noticed him approaching the door, arms jerking in front of him, feet dancing little steps. As soon as he entered the cafeteria he started into a form of ritual, which appeared to be come kind of dance. He skitted across the floor, big smile on his face, and seemingly uncontrollably, danced across the lobby, before stopping abruptly, placing both hands at his sides, putting on a serious face, then approached me at the counter.
I could tell that he was happy today. I wanted to ask him what the occasion was; why he was skipping across my lobby. Had he just scored well on a test? Did he fancy a woman? But I didn’t ask him. I just smiled really big and looked him in the eye as I asked him if he would like a cheeseburger. He smiled back and in his controlled voice replied “yes, please. With only ketchup.”
Here were two people, with obvious hinderances, who spent everyday working hard to go to school and find their place in the world.
What exactly was it again that I’ve been complaining about?

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September 14, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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