I'm Good at Other Things

written in class, 2/1

Right now I am pulling myself out of the deep shame of continuously smashing into inanimate objects. This morning I backed into a post, but I seem to like hitting parked cars just as much. Also, other cars like to hit my parked car. I have really bad parked car/post/curb hitting karma. 

This morning at least two men idling in pick up trucks both saw and heard me back loudly into the post but when I got out of my car, after nonchalantly circling around the back to check for damage, I tried to walk away pretending nothing had happened at all. 

I think this must be a result of my spatial relations dyslexia. I can't tell left from right and I can't read a map. I get lost on the same route I've traveled 1000 times. Another friend says it might be dyscalculia, an actual medical condition, but I just feel stupid and incapable. I had to talk myself back from major self-recrimination once I made it safely inside and locked the back door behind me. 

There's only a little yellow paint on the bumper but there are various and sundry scrapes and scratches from other parking disasters. Luckily I don't have the same track record for hitting moving objects-- just the ones that are firmly bolted down.

I have to constantly remind myself that I'm good at other things. I'm tone deaf and have no rhythm and can't clap in time, but I'm good at other things. I can't walk in a straight line, but I'm good at other things. When I walk with another person, I lean into them veering us both off the path as if I am completely disconnected from my body in space but I'm good at other things. My son has a brilliant, if spastic, imitation of how I clap. But I'm good at other things. The singing teacher said "It's actually extremely rare to be tone deaf" until he heard me sing. But I'm good at other things. I won last place in the school African Dance Contest and my husband says I dance like Seinfeld's Elaine, but I am good at other things. 

I might have spatial relations dyslexia, dyscalculia and no sense of time, rhythm or my body in space, but I'm good at other things. 

(Like loving the hell out of my crazy family and trying to write my way through the crazy world we live in.)

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What We're Able and Unable to Do

Earlier this week my 13 year old son came home from school a few minutes later than usual. "Was the bus late?" I asked.

"No," he said. "I stopped to call the county to report stop sign that fell at Hillside and Granger."

"You did?" I asked. I would have walked by that stop sign a thousand times before it occurred to me I could do anything about it. I generally wait for someone else to make it abundantly clear what I should be doing or what should be done. I feel no agency over objects or buildings or infrastructure. The county came and righted the downed sign the very next day.

After that, a galvanized pipe beneath our kitchen sink gave in to corrosion, our beloved cat Moon went missing, and a filling from Stan's tooth fell out. A  friend came over at 8 am Saturday morning to organize our search party in the midst of dealing dealing with a heartache of her own. Stan was in a near fetal position on the floor, convinced the gray tabby he'd given his whole heart to just 6 months before was already dead, or at least missing forever. "He's a cat," said our son. "He'll come home when he's hungry." I held my own anguish at bay by deciding Moon was on a vision quest, a rite of passage, marking his transition from boy to man. 

It felt good to walk through the neighborhood stapling laminated missing signs to wooden posts, talking about the nature of love and friendship and what can thread itself through a heart to tear apart the two. We talked to neighbors, rattled dry cat food in tupperware containers, called out in soft, sweet voices to soothe ourselves as much as the still wild, lost animal we were trying to call home.  

When we got back to the house we all ate a breakfast of eggs and sausage and biscuits Stan had made while we were gone. We set out a bowl of warm tuna fish and a litter box and  everything else it was suggested we do. I called a plumber and Stan called a dentist. Moon's sister, Sun, never left my side, climbing onto my chest and licking my face. 

We are learning what it is we are able and not able to do.


  Happy ending: Moon came home! Here is being welcomed back by his sister, Sun.

Happy ending: Moon came home! Here is being welcomed back by his sister, Sun.