Monday, July 28, 2008
Regulation of Blood Flow in the Skin
I'd sort of given up on embarrassment. It's exhausting, first of all, and it does nothing for your complexion. Furthermore, it requires you to make large withdrawals from any reserves of dignity and self-respect you've managed to amass, and does so by the expedient of pointing its little black muzzle of shame at the back of your neck until you cave. Embarrassment is a psychological mafioso.
So I've simply let it slide. No more dressing for the occasion; no more making small talk if I don't want to; no more hiding the fact that I can get drunk -really satisfyingly inebriated- on one-and-a-half beers.
You understand, of course, that the preceding was a truckload of warm, soft, fragrant equine excrement. (Apart from the one-and-a-half beers part; sadly, that's true.)
I still get embarrassed. Not as frequently as I did ten years ago, or even five, but on and off throughout any given year. And why shouldn't I? Embarrassment is a way of reaching outside yourself, a kind of clumsy lurching from your own consciousness toward the consciousness of others. It's messy, painful, and inefficient, but at least it keeps us alive to something outside of ourselves.
Accordingly, my recent embarrassments, large, small, and petty, in no particular order:
Waking up from a nap covered in melted chocolate.
At fancy dinner party, forgetting location and eating salt straight from shaker.
Shouting "oh god, oh god" when plane hit unexpected turbulence.
Spending 24 hours in bright yellow, paper-thin Double Reed Rally 1989 t-shirt featuring unfortunately placed row of insanely grinning oboe reeds.
Dancing to YMCA amidst field of people not dancing to YMCA (cf. one-and-a-half beers).
Dissecting recently published sex poem in front of extended and nuclear families, plus innocent bystander, at behest of 93-year-old Great Uncle who used to teach English at hot-shot liberal arts college and had many probing questions.