Sunday, May 27, 2012


When Melisa Harris Perry was growing up her father signed every note and card: the struggle continues. What a legacy. She writes that the struggle with the slanted images of the crooked room is a problem of recognition. She mentions Hannah Arendt's ideas about the public world being a place where people self actualize as a result of recognition.

I went to help Mom when K was in the hospital years ago. One of her friends picked me up at the airport. Later Mom reported that when the friend first saw me she didn't think I'd be as smart as I was because I was so fat. Mom thought this was a good thing although I was never clear if she thought her friend was cool for having seen past my weight or I was cool for being so smart or both.
I didn't think it was cool at all.
Mom thinks it's understandable for someone of size to make a bad first impression simply because of their size.
A friend once told me that her father had interviewed a man for a partnership and almost didn't hire him because he was fat. He did hire him and they'd been lifelong business partners and friends.
One of the first people I met at EA was women with whom it seemed I had much in common. She liked to read and play Sims. We went to lunch in one of the cafeterias that day and I watched as she picked every bit of lettuce and tomato off a pre-made sandwich. She called it rabbit food. It worked out for me because if she ordered something that came with vegetables I often got them. She drank countless sodas and lots of candy and fast food. She wasn't thin but she wasn't fat. I sometimes imagine the two of us at a bus stop. People driving by might think our diets were the opposite of what they were. I don't think I'm being paranoid. I've had the experience of someone yelling at me from a car to "eat more salad."
And then there there are the times when I've been on a plane. Leaning away from the person next to me, desperate not to make them uncomfortable and they spread out elbows in my ribs, knees banging into mine. The farther I lean away the more room they take up.
I think most of us bristle at assumptions made about us and I'm not sure any of us are free of that possibility. Maybe we feel better about the positive assumptions.

I'm still not sleeping very well. I finished the book about Sontag. Fast read. Probably only interesting if you're already interested in Sontag, which I am. I started a book about Emma Goldman written by Vivian Gornick. One of my favorite books by one of my favorite writers. Gornick's slant is on Golman's ideas about inner liberation being central to political revolution.
I feel like all these books are stringing together.
Bread crumbs.
On a mystery trail.
A snipe hunt.  


Cheryl Czekala said...

How 'bout some fiction soon?

Barbara said...

So glad you are writing again! You are so smart and such a good writer! Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us!

Tish said...

Fiction? Hmm. I'll hafta think about that.

Thanks Barbara!