Saturday, April 6, 2024

Kind of Special

Man. . . I wouldn't want to be someone who misses an episode of this series. . . would you?  You couldn't make sense of what is going on, I think.  Like yesterday's post.  WTF was up with that, right?  I should have deleted it, I'm certain, but, you know. . . the show must go on.  

This from Q:

Impostor syndrome, also known as impostor phenomenon or impostorism, is a psychological occurrence. Those who have it may doubt their skills, talents, or accomplishments. They may have a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as frauds.  Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon do not believe they deserve their success or luck. They may think that they are deceiving others because they feel as if they are not as intelligent as they outwardly portray themselves to be.  Impostor syndrome can stem from and result in strained personal relationships and can hinder people from achieving their full potential in their fields of interest. The term "impostorization" shifts the source of the phenomenon away from the supposed impostor to institutions whose policies, practices, or workplace cultures "either make or intend to make individuals question their intelligence, competence, and sense of belonging."

Huh.  Who knew?

I'm fine today.  Nothing to see here.  I spent a lovely day not taking photos.  I tried.  I went out with cameras, two of them loaded with the new Scala b&w positive (slide) film that I will have to laboriously develop on my own.  There are no longer any labs in the U.S. that develop it.  So, two rolls.  72 frames to shoot.  It is likely to take me a year.  Why?  Why do I keep experimenting?

Maybe so that I don't consider myself "failing."

"Oh, these are just test shots.  I'm trying out a new film, so. . . ."

Uh-oh.  There I go again.  

But I was "kind" to myself again.  I did a simple, light and quick workout at the gym.  Ate a nice lunch at home, a big leaf salad with garlic and sliced cherry tomatoes and shredded rotisserie chicken.  And after not taking photographs, I went to my mother's.  And there, along with the tales of tragedy and sorrow I am foregoing here, I heard something that almost made me pee my pants.  

The lady down the street is nice if a little nutty.  She comes to visit my mother every few days.  She doesn't work, so she looks after her grandson often.  She has a granddaughter, too, but she isn't over much.  The boy, however, is there quite often.  He is "special."  Developmentally slow.  He's definitely on some spectrum.  He is seven and still shits his pants.  He stays with his grandmother because the kindergarten kicked him out.  When he comes to my mother's house, he picks little blue berries off her podocarpus bush with great concentration and intensity.   He didn't speak until about a year ago, but he is still has problems.  I'll see him in the yard once in awhile, pants off, pecker out, pissing into the bushes.  

But that is not the story, just the prologue.  Here is the tale.  The kid is apparently addicted to hand sanitizer.  He eats it.  Whenever and wherever there is a bottle of sanitizer, he pumps it onto his hand and licks it off.  He loves eating or drinking the stuff.  I learned that his mother is an elementary school teacher and that the other day she took him with her to her classroom.  She wasn't paying attention, I guess, and he got into the oversized sanitizer bottle they keep there.  When they left school, he was acting a little funny, not walking right, laughing.  They made a stop at the grocery store, and he laid down in the cart and went to sleep.  When they left the store, though, he began throwing up.  There were two nurses who saw him and told the mother needed to take him to the E.R.  Poison control or something.  Turns out the kid was drunk.  Drinking hand sanitizer is equivalent to the old hobo routine of drinking Sterno.  

It was, I guess, really a sad tale.  I shouldn't take so much delight in the story.  But I keep seeing a vision of Alfred E. Neuman pumping hand sanitizer into his palm and licking it up, smiling with little cartoon stars swirling around his head, his notorious grin getting ever dumber.  

It was Friday.  Date night.  Having decided I must be My Own True Love, I took myself out for sushi.  It was early, five-thirty-ish, but if you want to eat out in this town and not wait half an hour for a table, you have to go before the mob.  At least on a Friday or Saturday night.  I had beaten the crowd and was shown a seat at the sushi bar.  When the waitress came over to take my order, she was very friendly.  I realized after a minute that she was the one who waited on me last time I was there some weeks ago.  She asked me if I wanted something to drink while I looked at the menu, but I couldn't look at the menu.  The lighting was dim and I didn't have my glasses with me.  

"I'll just give you my order," I said.  

"O.K.  You're always certain about what you want."

Hmm.  She was still smiling.  I ordered a poke bowl and hot sake.  She had a way of speaking that sounded familiar, the phrasing and the lilt in her voice.  I realized she sounded like Red.  

The last time I was there, I had asked about getting a shot of vodka with an oyster and hot sauce in it.  My little Russian Jewish hairdresser, pregnant and unable to drink, told me that day that this was something she missed when I told her I was going there for dinner.  I guess that was a month or so ago.  Yes. . . and the waitress remembered me and that, and she remembered that I was denied the order by the bartender who said that would not "pair well."  The thing on the drink menu was a a sake/oyster shot.  

"I think tonight I will try that," I said to the waitress.  She seemed delighted.  

It arrived in a box.  Good presentation.  But wait. . . what?

Was that an egg yolk?  Sure as shitting.  A quail egg.  And much else.  This was not a simple thing.  I hadn't read the menu, so I didn't know what all I was about to drink.  There was an oily sheen floating on top.  There were little nuggets of something in the bottom.  The waitress stood smiling.  

"I guess you want to see my face when I shoot this," I said. 

She grinned.  "No, I'll let you enjoy the sensation alone," she said walking away.  

I got my phone out.  I would have to send this photo around to my drink picture pals.  That is what I was embarrassingly doing when she came back.  

"Oh. . . I have to send photos of this to my friends," I said sheepishly.  

"Of course."

"Loser," thought to My Own True Love.  A lone guy eating at the Blue Hair Special Hour, sitting at the bar taking photos of his meal.  Probably why she remembered me.  She gets a kick out of watching me the way I got a kick from the story of the boy drinking the hand sanitizer.  Two of a kind.  I probably had the dumb grin of Neuman pasted across my face.  

Fuck it.  Bottoms up. 

It was weird, thick and chewy.  I probably shouldn't have chewed.  There was something in it that shouldn't be chewed, I think.  It left an oily coating in my mouth.  

When the waitress came back, she asked, "How was it?"

"It was good. . . uh. . . but I chewed it a bit."

What was I saying?  I really wanted her to think I was special, I guess.  WTF?  Why would I say that?  

And of course, I paid the bill with my bright red bank card, always an impressive sight.  Whatever.  

"Thank you," she said when she brought back my card.  "What are you going to do tonight?"

"Right now I need to go home and have a whiskey," I said.  

Really?  Something bad has gone wrong with me.  I knew right away.  Maybe I have had a stroke.  I could feel the fire creeping up my neck to the base of my spinal cord.  I might as well have told her I liked hand sanitizer.  At least I didn't shit my pants.  

"Well that sounds great," she said.  "Have a nice night.  I hope to see you again, soon." 

When I stood up, I waited a minute flexing my knee before I limped out of the restaurant and into the late afternoon.  

"I have ice cream in the freezer," I thought.  "And I have 'my shows'."  That made me laugh.  My friend in the midwest used to make fun of me for going home early.  That was the phrase she used.  "Going home to watch your shows?" she'd say with a wry grin.

But indeed, C.C. and Q had each texted me just minutes apart asking if I had watched "Ripley."  So I watched the first episode and saw why.  Shot in black and white, every frame is equivalent to a still photograph.  Really good photographs.  Stylized.  Impressive.  

So yea, whiskey, ice cream, and my shows.  That's what I should have told the waitress.  

The photo at the top of the page was taken a few days ago.  I had my camera on my walk which is becoming a thing I do again.  As I was just about to enter the trail behind Country Club College, I saw this little homemade cross.  


I'm assuming it was somebody's pet buried there and not an unwanted infant.  But who knows these days.  

I probably shouldn't have written what I did yesterday, of course, nor half of today's post either.  But hell . . . it's just me and you. . . you know?  We'll just keep that between us, nice and quiet and intimate like.  I have some grandiose tales of late that I'll tell you sometime, too.  Sure.  I'm like a coyote in those old Native American tales, 

Coyotes symbolize trickery, but coyotes are also associated with playfulness, cleverness, creativity, adaptability, and instinct. Coyotes also represent wisdom and teaching, as opposed to trickery, and this double meaning alludes to a balance between the two, representing neither good nor evil but an ambivalence existing between the two.  

 So say the Navajo, at least.  

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