At First Blush

I have been rather negligent in my writing lately and it hasn’t been because I have been vetting every CD we have in our house or wallowing in depression. In fact, despite completely destroying my car and more absent minded moments than usual, I’ld say the last few weeks have been some of the best in a very long time. I have been reading a lot, enjoying the spring at its fullest, and almost every cliche that goes with it. To celebrate the goodness I have decided to give up on the cynicism for a post and enjoy the strangeness of life.

I have gone through several nicknames… Tink, Atie, That-Person-Who’s-Bleeding – fairly typical stuff – but like all nicknames I have a couple I keep locked, sealed, and for all intents and purposes non-existent.

In high school it was Tom, not as in the boy’s name, as in Tom-ato.

“Why?” One might ask.

Funny you should ask.

I blush. Fire-engine red. The red of scarves and sweaters and really really red things – like tomatoes. Sure most people may blush a little, but even my doctor has commented on the rapidity and profusion of my blush – from scalp to toe. I literally radiate redness.

So, what turns me into a space heater at the drop of a hat?

1. Well, maybe not the drop of a hat, but the drop of a shirt is a completely different matter. 

I can’t look at a shirtless young man without flushing. I just can’t. Some of my male friends are cruel and unusual… guess what they do? During the summer I avoid pools and bury my head in a book for as long as possible. Winter is wonderful… I also avoid Abercrombie & Fitch, most catalogues, and construction sites.

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2. Being Singled Out in a crowd

Don’t ask me a question in a group, if a whole bunch of people are watching me…waiting for the answer. I would rather be ignored. Honestly, don’t point me out in a speech or a say I helped. Do you know how many awful photos there are of me looking tomato-ish? I try to destroy them all.

Once I was in a cantina in Mexico and a young man asked me to dance. I was so embarrassed that I handed him my napkin. He laughed and danced away. Did I mention he danced across the room to me while I pretended not to notice? My cousin thought it was the funniest thing she’d ever seen.

3. When other people are doing/ talking about intimate details of their love life

You know that moment in movies when the hero/heroine makes every viewer flinch – I skip them… and pretend that it never happened. In movie theaters I shrink deeply into my seat and recite bits of nothing to distract myself. When watching with friends, I leave the room…

I’m an anthropologist, I can talk about sex in a scientific and impersonal way – detached. As soon as someone talks about their love life in any way. I feel like I’ve intruded on someone else’s privacy. This especially happens when couples say that they are trying to have a baby. It gets even better…

4. When I’m asked about my love life

I also stutter and can’t speak clearly.

5. When others call my bluff (or do something completely unexpected)

This usually happens when I’m speaking or working too fast, but also when I’m dancing or typically not thinking about the consequences of my actions. As far as unexpected… This is what usually falls under most embarrassing moments… I run away from the worst ones… The most gracious people call it “tactical withdrawal.” I call it a strong fight or flight response.

6. Money and Gifts

I hate money and I hate how it effects people, but most of all I hate talking about it. I almost can’t even talk to my parents about it. I literally email them a fiscal report we can talk about. I avoid subjects and get very bothered when others ask about it. My dad has called me a cheap date since I was twelve – My parents had to teach me how to even order on a date… The best story I have on this one is a little mortifying. I wasn’t asked to our school formal one year and had to find a date. We were going to Disneyland and I had already pulled the ‘Stutter and Run’ on the family friend, so I payed for all of it… almost four hundred dollars. He never knew…

If I’m awkward about money, I’m worse when its spent on me. I am bad at saying no because I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, but it is even worse when I’m given something I could never reciprocate – A tank of gas, clothes I don’t think I need. I don’t want others to waste money on me. I’m not worth it.

But I’m a total hypocrite – I love giving other people things like flowers sporadically and really well put together gift.

7. My Quirkiness is Revealed

    I am strange. I embrace it here and can joke about my major peculiarities with everyone. I am obscenely absent minded – there’s no hiding it. My mind is typically meandering between the nature of existence and how string theory makes sense of perceived time. I forget things like whether the hood on my car is secure. But then I’m caught out when it flies up while I’m driving, snapping me back to reality. I find it difficult to relate to people and their interests typically… I read excessively, mostly unpopular books, prefer being alone for extended periods of time , can’t stand crowds of people, and love small, dark spaces – I used to sneak into a hideout under my stairs to sleep because it felt safer than my bed.

Apparently I’m strange…

Anyway – I’m sure I’ll be back to my austere sulky posts soon.




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