Flick My Switch
If there is a pancake on a plate on the table, my brain reacts with a, “Cool. Pancake on table. Must eat it. Now.”
Other people, however, might have the response of, “How did that pancake get there? More importantly, why is it there? What would be the ramifications of eating it? And is it actually a pancake? It looks like a circular bready foodthing, but for all I know it could be slightly-overcooked lefsa. Or it could be a frisbee. Or mayhap it’s a saucy beret that I might toss into the air, Mary Tyler Moore style. Unless I touch it and smell it, I can’t be sure of its possibilities.”
Luckily, if there’s only one pancake on the table, you can rest assured that I’ve polished it off by the time the deeper thinker gets done sorting through his/her litany of questions. Poor, hungry ponderers. Good thing you have all that food for thought to keep you sated.
The earliest instance of my living-upon-unquestioned-assumptions occurred with my parents. My dad was named Donald, and my mom is Maxine. Until well past the age of 9, I assumed that all moms had names that started with “M,” and all dads had names that started with “D”–so that their job titles corresponded with their first intials. It was the Rule of Parenting. Then I met my friend Margaret’s mother Theresa, and that pesky “T” name made my foundations shake. “Couldn’t you just call her your ‘tom’ instead of your ‘mom’?” I asked.
And it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I realized, consciously, that the seasons, well, they would just keep spining ’round and ’round. There was one year in particular when I thought, “Look, it’s winter now. ‘Bout this time last year, wasn’t it winter?” Suddenly, feebly, the bulb flickered on. Once I slowed it all down and made some notations on a Post-It note, a pattern emerged: for every year of my life, there had been a spring followed by a summer followed by a fall followed by a winter. I could, therefore, extrapolate that this succession of seasons might continue into future years, as well. This most definitely affected my shopping; realizing that Land’s End was clearancing swimsuits suddenly made much more sense, for there was clearly a chance that summer-like weather might be back the following year, so buying a swimsuit would not just be a fool’s enterprise.
Then there were the revelations that took place once I got married, and my husband moved to the town where I’d been living for more than three years as a singleton. He, with regularity, would head out on an errand or for a run and then come home and, in a single remark, open up a whole new world to me. One day, he walked in and announced, “Hey, you know, that cemetery here in town is a great place to run; it’s well-paved, flat, and away from traffic.” I looked blankly at him and replied, “Cemetery?” “Well, yes, Joce, there’s a cemetery in this town of 23,000 where they bury the deceased, you know. And it’s right off the highway there.” My blank stare remained until he continued, “It’s over by the Shopko.” OOOOHHH, over by the Shopko. Why didn’t he just say so? But who knew there would be a cemetery in my town? I must have been watching coverage of Princess Diana’s death the day the town gave its seminar entitled “Yes, We Bury the Dead ‘Uns Here in Civilization.” At least, harumph, I knew all about the tragically-deceased ex-princess’ burial. I saw her casket and everything, and her self-righteous brother made that island-dealie to inter her on. Maybe if they’d shown live coverage of someone in my town getting buried–over there by the highway–I might have had an inkling about that cemetery business.
Gazed upon through loving eyes, my pockets of ignorance are charming. Blinder-free, though, we can all agree I’s a dimwit.
Oh, by the way, can anyone explain this to me: every time I click on the button that says “publish” here in Blogger, a bunch of new words shows up on my blog. What’s that all about?