Dangerous Compassions


I was talking to Ming about the accent marks in French.  I told him about accent grave, accent aigu?  Then the accent circonflexe, of course.  I forgot about la cedille and the umlaut thing.

He said something about Vietnamese.  I said something about a French invasion.  He knows about that.

“Do we really need all those accent marks?  Couldn’t we forget about them?  French is asking too much!  I’m like–French, you gotta be kidding me.”  I was telling Ming all this as he drove us to Treasure Island to deliver some sunglasses to the front desk so my friend’s parents could pick them up.

This friend visited from New York and left sunglasses here three years ago, and I’ve been holding onto these shades ever since.  We’re doing a thing.  I had them in the bedroom on a shelf in an It’s-It box.  But I didn’t close the box, so they got dusty anyway.  But the friend’s parents are in town, staying at Treasure Island.

“It’s good to come here to remember why we don’t come here,” I told Ming on the strip.  We were at a red light, watching masses of tourists and a couple of locals pass by.

“What are all these people DOING here?” I asked.  I commented on their crisp shopping bags and long plastic margarita cups tourists carry a lot.  The novelty of drinking a margarita as they walk around.  A lady’s pretty scarf.  How almost everyone was wearing black.  I looked down and saw I was wearing black too.

I had intended to run in to drop off the sunglasses at the front desk, while Ming waited in the car, but I got scared.  I was afraid they would read me as homeless, scowl, and tell me, “Get out of here before I call the cops.”

I think that’s a paranoid concern, but what can you do.  I’d rather be silly than have a panic attack in a casino.  I’ll say that’s valid.  You’re ok, Laura-Marie.

Casinos are kind of like video rental stores.  I remember the overstimulation and stress of Blockbuster, trying to decide on a movie with friends on a Friday night around 1993.  The too muchness of colors and sounds, bright carpet, tvs playing movies.  The stress of trying to agree what to get.  No, I won’t watch a horror movie.  We watched that one already.  No, that’s a stupid movie.  No way am I seeing that.  

Casinos have cigarette smoke also, and the gambling thing, of course!  Memories of my dad squandering thousands of dollars on a type of “fun” that didn’t seem to make him happy whatsoever.  It seemed like a really gross, grabby fun.  An expression of a deep sadness.  That sounds mean, but if you were there, you would have seen it too.

I told Ming how I don’t usually suffer from imposter syndrome, but I couldn’t bring myself to step foot into Aveda.  (I’d never told anyone that before.)  I like their beauty products–I had a best friend years ago who worked there and gave me some of their products that smelled wonderful.  Hair conditioner, a pretty candle.

But yeah, a similar thing of being read as totally the wrong class, style, and fatness level.  I would be seen as Not Belonging, and the pain of just imagining the condescension of the workers.  Let alone experiencing it.  Ouch.  I flinch before they even see me.

I filled out a form recently online that asked my race/ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, and class.  For the class one I put “lumpen.”  I felt like a funny Marxist even though I’m not a Marxist, yo.  I wanted to put a question mark after but didn’t.

Am I lumpen?  I live on disability making less than $10k a year.  But in some ways I’m rich, and I have things money couldn’t buy. 

It’s funny because if you’re lumpen, you don’t know the word lumpen, right?  So if I call myself that, it’s kind of a joke.  Half-joke.

I appreciated the unplanned rain.  I think wind is the escort of rain.  It brought the rain here, and it ushered it out.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *