Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Change is Already Apparent

I'm wearing my ring today. I'm paranoid I'm going to lose it (the ring, not my composure) so I'm being extra careful about it. I can just totally see it slipping off and falling into the center of my jelly doughnut, because of the way I eat them, and then swallowing it and having to stare into every bowel movement for the glint of my promise to my lady love. I think when the stakes are higher, Fate thinks nothing of making the disasters that much more improbable and ridiculous. If I have a favorite pen, it will fall between the couch cushions; if I have a cool new wedding ring, a turtle will eat it and a condor will grab the turtle, and the bird will get sucked into the engine of a passenger jet, which will stay aloft just long enough to crash into the Baltic Sea.

Anyway, I'm already noticing some differences in my environment, how people react to me. Yesterday, ringless, people did their usual crap of refusing to look at me. I was in a good mood about something and looked one woman dead in the eye, smiling broadly at her: she snorted and shot her gaze to the side as she chuffed past. I looked another woman in the eye and wished her a good afternoon: she tightened her frown and strode briskly past.

Today, the back of the bus actually saw a mix of genders. Rather than quailing timidly at the fore of the bus (causing, in all seriousness, elderly and handicapped people to have to stand), a few women actually sat in the back of the bus. One actually chose to sit next to me, when there were other options available to her. My ring wasn't even apparent - it must augment my aura to transmit: THIS MAN IS SAFE. I ran into yesterday's second example today, and she looked me in the eye and wished me a good morning.

Elevator courtesy, however, was still bereft. Minnesota has never heard of elevator courtesy, that is, letting people disembark before you load up the car. Either they stream in while you're trying to leave or just stand dumbly before you, preventing your exit and postponing their own entrance. That's as far as elevator courtesy goes in Minneapolis, standing dumbly in the way.

I guess I hold women to be the gauge of civility, anyway, as evinced in the above examples. Guys, I'm used to them walking into me to prove their masculinity, peeing and puking on things, and swearing at me when I move out of the area where they're doing something annoying. Some old-fashioned, chauvanistic part of my conditioning still regards women as polite, a standard for decency (or at least a baseline), as though the weight of civilization weighed upon their shoulders. That is, if I try out a new behavior and women seem to approve, then it's probably a positive trait; if I change something and women start to avoid me, then it's probably a behavior I need to extinct (it is a verb in behavioral psychology). Men are mainly concerned with sports and boobies, and I'm not concerned with winning their approval.

Well, not my friends. My friends are cool, they represent a compendium of culture and education. My friends are not "people" in general by a far cry.

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