Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Two conversations have struck me lately. Here they are.

"Look what I am sending off to the governor." An older man said. "I think Sarah and Todd will get a kick out of this."

"Oh, that is neat." A lady answers. "My brother sent my mom a copy of her book that they have both signed."

"Have you read her book yet?" The man asks her.

"Not yet, I'll borrow my mother's when she is finished, but I told my brother I was really jealous."

"She starts her tour with Fox News today."

"I am so excited for her."

What makes this conversation odd is that neither of these people have met Sarah. They have the same access to information that the rest of the world does, why then do they still speak in awed tones, why is he still calling her the govenor? What would make this conversation scary would be knowing that people all over the country are talking like this, I hope that is not the case.

The next one is not odd or scary, it just made me think about how much we try to shelter people we love, and how stilted that can make conversations.

Fria Chica, Miss Universe and I were all sitting in a gym watching the kids play basketball. Miss Universe stood up and pulled a cigarette and lighter out of her bag. She turned to Fria Chica and asked if she was coming with her. Fria Chica looked almost sheepish. "Have you quit again?" Miss Universe asked her. I laughed.

"She looked at you with such derision." I said to Fria Chica.
"Quitters never win, winners never quit." She pointed her cigarette at Fria Chica to add emphasis.

"What am I quitting except for a higher chance of cancer?" Fria Chica tensed up as the word cancer left her lips. She was frozen with regret at what she had said.

I turned to Miss Universe and said. "You have been inhaling way too deep."

Young people often try to say nothing offensive at all. Sometimes I forget that there is a nine year age gap between Fria Chica and myself. She has not yet learned that being treated abnormally makes people more uncomfortable than the occasional thoughtless remark. Miss Universe and I were young when a former teacher taught us this lesson with true class. Here husband had died less than a month before. It was in the middle of July; M.U. and I were walking down the middle of the street. She was doing yard work and stood to greet us. We stopped to talk about little things like yard work and weather. M.U. said that trying to work out in the middle of the heat would make her feel like dying. We all felt her tense up. She could not believe she had just said that. Our former teacher went on to agree that the heat would just kill her. She used the words kill or death several times in the next few minutes.

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