Saturday, August 18, 2012

It makes me cold to look at you


I have a small nick on the tip of my finger which hurts whenever I press it down on the keys.  I helped one of my daughters to pack up the contents of her house the other night and made the wound worse.  The dry blackness of newspaper ink seeped into the cut as I wrapped up her drink glasses one after another and laid them out in a box.

I hope the glasses make the journey safely today.  I will help to unwrap them at the other end this afternoon, once the removalists have carried all the boxes from one suburb to the next.  My daughter is not moving far, at least not geographically but emotionally it’s a huge move, as moves tend to be. 

Another of my daughters took a look at my desk the other day, strewn as it is with papers and books.
‘It makes me giddy just to look at it.’


Her words resonate with my mother’s words.  When I was a child and refused to wear a jumper even on the coldest of days she said to me repeatedly as I remember ‘It makes me cold to look at you.’  I wondered then how my lack of clothing could so affect my mother as she pulled her thick cardigan around her shoulders and shivered.

 How easy it is for us to affect one another.  Even a glance, a scrunching of eyebrows a wrinkling of the forehead can say a thousand words and leave the person on the receiving end in paroxysms of despair.  That is when we know one another well. 

But even when we don’t know one another well, looks can still kill. 

A car pulled in front of me the other day.  I had not noticed the car there on my left in two thick lanes of traffic until it had pulled in front of me.  I held back to let the driver in.  I saw his window go down and his arm shoot out.  I had expected a wave of acknowledgement. 

‘Thanks,’ he might have gestured, but no.  He gave me the bird.  That’s the expression people use when someone points up their rude finger.  Their rude finger, their index. 

It did not shock me so much as puzzle me.  What had I done wrong?  Why had I offended him?  I assumed it was a him.  The arm looked like a his but it may have been a hers, her index finger, her offence. 

It matters little in the scheme of things.  It matters to me a little less than the way I felt on another day when I had pulled out in front of another car ahead and momentarily blocked the path of an on coming car – nothing dangerous, everything in slow motion –  at the junction in Camberwell, and the person driving the car coming towards me, which did not in fact need to slow down much before approaching my car, wound down his window – again it was a he   - and spat a great gob of whatever onto my wind screen. 

There’s something shocking about being spat at, however much I might have deserved a reprimand.  This one got under my skin such that I cannot forget. 

On another note, I’m getting cold feet on the Keiser training.  To think I’d need to do this exercise twice weekly for the next however many years puts me off. 

On the other hand, is it so bad? 
And on the other hand, it’s expensive.
On the other hand, how might I feel in the long run when I no longer need to carry around my burden of guilt for neglecting my crumbling bones?

At least I have managed to get a bandage onto my wounded index finger.  It no longer hurts to type. 

If only other wounds were always so easily healed.
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