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SUPPOSED TO BE A LADY BUT YOU'RE NOT ONE!" he shrieked into
my shoulder. "FAR FROM IT! ASSHOLE THIS, ASSHOLE THAT! YOU'RE
I tried to just focus on maintaining my tranquil, blissed-out look,
but what happened next took the crazy to a whole new level: Tiny
Man started circling me. Yes, circling. Prowling, like a cheetah
or a wolf or a very attentive tailor. And as he orbited me, creepily
sizing me up, I grew increasingly nervous. It seemed he was preparing
to strike. And by strike I don't mean physically, I mean verbally.
His tongue was doing that jab-jab thing again which told me something
was in the works.
"LEMME TELL YOU SOMETHING ABOUT YOU, YOUNG LADY!"
Tiny Man squealed.
He was practically upon me. Honestly, I've never been so excruciatingly
adjacent to someone I wasn't hugging. All I could think about was
that he was surely judging my vaguely oily T-zone. And then suddenly
I realized: He was going to insult my appearance. Definitely. And
the anticipation of this made me crazy-tense. What if he busted
out with, "Your forehead is huger than Helen Hunt's!"
or, "Your teeth are enormous, jackrabbit!"? Even though
I'd already intellectually accepted these things as true, I still
would've been slightly devastated if he'd said them, the same way
you feel bad when kids make uncensored observations about you; it
stings simply because it's the cold, hard truth being uttered aloud.
As Tiny Man continued circling and gawking, all I could do was brace
myself. Ohmigod, I prayed silently. Call me ugly on the
inside but please don't call me ugly on the outside. It didn't
matter that I had already deemed him possibly nuts on all levels.
I still cared.
"WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?! THE WAY YOU WERE STANDING
IN THE WRONG PLACE!"
A customer shot me a vaguely sympathetic look as he left the teller
and then my ding finally came. Thank GOD. I practically sprinted
to the window and throughout my transaction with the kind, efficient
Armenian or Persian teller, I used my sweetest voice, saying please
and thank you no less than thirty times. Loudly. I wanted all five
people in that bank to know that I was a delightful person. But
frankly it was hard to concentrate on my pleases and thank yous
because a mere ten feet away, Tiny Man was ranting to the Greeter.
"THAT YOUNG LADY IS DISGUSTING! SHE SAID ASSHOLE! IN A BANK!"
I got my quarters and, after thanking the teller in a freakishly
loud voice, headed out. As I passed the Greeter I rolled my eyes,
fully expecting some sign of solidarity in return -- the Smirk of
Understanding, maybe, or just any small gesture that'd say whoa,
some people. But her expression was completely devoid of any
bonding quality and suddenly I felt a bolt of anxiety. A surge of
un-tetheredness. Were we not bound by our common allegiance against
Team Tiny Man? Or
wait. She didn't think I was the
freak in the bank, did she? She didn't think I was some creep who
just went around bringing "asshole" into harmonious banks,
did she? Maybe she thought I'd soiled her bank with my lowbrow ways.
Say asshole at Bristol Farms if you want -- but not at Bank of
America. She was probably thinking that. Maybe everyone was
thinking that. Ohmigod.
I walked out with a pit in my gut, that something's-awry pit that
just kind of hovers and gnaws and makes everything feel gross and
unsettled. One thing was for sure, though: A trip to the bank to
procure quarters is nothing like a trip to the neighborhood cobbler.
As it turns out, the bank is just a regular pain in the ass errand.
Like the DMV or the goddamn Rite Aid Pharmacy.
As I drove to yoga I checked my rearview mirror at least a half
a dozen times. I don't quite know what I actually expected to see
-- I guess I thought Tiny Man might be trailing me or something.
Like on foot, maybe? Or coasting on his Ralphs shopping cart? Or
perhaps driving a Bentley? In the moment, all these options seemed
horrifyingly plausible, and the last thing I wanted was to be caught
unawares. But I made it to class, and, of course, Tiny Man was nowhere
to be seen. Alas, he and I were done with each other. It was over.
as Fusakos soothing voice piped through the sound-system signaling
the start of class, what I discovered was that it wasnt
over at all. Because as I stood in Tadasana pose in front of the
mirror, I found myself scrutinizing the figure reflected back at
I dont look like a lady, I ruminated, taking
in my sweat-suited torso and disheveled hair sprigging out wildly
from my neon Forever 21 headband. I should work on being more
of a lady. Whatever that means. But more importantly, am I really
disgusting? Disgusting? I guess bringing asshole talk
into lovely Bank of America IS the kind of thing a disgusting person
this makes me a little disgusting! Good
god. How would I even go about fixing that?...
Unfortunately I barely registered Fusakos end-of-class head
rub. My mind was still whirring. So, in the name of progress and
self-improvement, I made a commitment -- right then and there. It
was time to Take Care of Business. First task on my list: I must
finally do something about my oily t-zone.
Even if it means a trip to the goddamn Rite Aid Pharmacy.
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