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hey, shit happens

published: 2011-01-12

Consider the relief you feel when you burst out into tears and discover it is without consequence. It is met with normalcy. Hey, shit happens. Life goes on, despite your being a big cry baby. Medics, therapists, they’re all really good at that. It’s their job to show no surprise to anything out of the extraordinary.
Consider being asked the way by a midget. Or someone who stutters. Do you blush?
Consider the ten-year-old girl who takes orders in a cafĂ©. Two men stare at a laptop screen, discuss a strategy of some sort. They glance up at the girl. She slants her head and twists her foot. She tries very hard to ask what they would like to drink in an as grown-up way as possible. As casually as her big sister behind the bar does. Or maybe it’s her mother. The men show no reaction. The girl’s relief is visible: her head straightens, her expression shifts from discomfort to boredom, as if having done this kazillion times before. As if her working there is absolutely, completely, normal. Helped by the men whose reactions support this. When she turns her back to them and they briefly raise their eyebrows at each other.
But consider, too, how you may have once really wanted someone to acknowledge your tears and to say: poor you. And perhaps a similar ten-year-old girl somewhere may need someone to say, “you shouldn’t be working here.” To overcome the embarassment, instead of place the order.

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