I remembered the other thing I wanted to tell you about yesterday’s outing! When I decided to stop and work on my paper for a while, I got very thirsty, as I am wont to do. I was like, 5 feet from the Caribou coffee place inside the Campus Center. Water would have been the best choice of purchases, but they had a sign up offering a bottomless cup with receipt from the same day. I just couldn’t say no. And it held the possibility of putting some soymilk in my belly too — I assumed there would be soy available; there was not. At this point, you’re probably asking yourself why I am telling you a story about my coffee. This is how I tell stories. Get used to it. I’m a big believer in context.
I felt a bit shitty. The reason I had decided to stay by the way, was that the idea of walking to the car sounded so awful, especially since the driving came next. I needed to rest a bit before attempting any of that nastiness.
So I purchase my coffee, and go to the sugar, spice, and creamer spot. There is no soymilk. I am disappointed, but decide that the coffee can instead become a sugar-delivery system. So, I start ripping the packages and pouring them in. I’m going for a pretty sweet drink here, dudettes and dudes; sugar builds strong bones and teeth yanno. ;)
While I’m preparing my sugar-stravaganza, this guy gets up from his table nearby, holding no beverage of any kind, and stands next to me, blocking access to the other side of the sugar/spice/creamer spot. He had walked up there for one purpose only; to tell me, almost gleefully,
You look like you’re half-asleep.
I turned and looked straight at him and gave him the death stare, and responded,
I know what I look like.
I don’t know where this would have gone. He was given an out almost immediately when another guy walked up beside him and beckoned him back to the Ron Paul table. In a way, I’m glad he had an out, because I had no energy to school his ass on how inappropriate it was to walk up to someone and comment on their appearance. And of course there are exceptions, but these exceptions follow a very specific pattern.
Okay to say to a stranger:
I love your boots!
Where did you get your hair done?
I like your jeans/dress/top.
That outfit is so cute.
I don’t feel like doing a full-on exposition right now, but I wanna smack him with my books on language, power, and gender. I will note this distinction though.
Okay to say to a friend:
You look so cute today in that outfit.
You look a little tired. Are you okay?
Frankly the second one gets on my nerves, but I think friends are allowed to show that kind of concern. It just drove me batty though because for a while it was constant. And I didn’t have an answer. I felt like shit (body) and I felt like shit (depression, OCD). Boil that down into a reassuring 15 second answer. GO! Any longer and there was engagement, which I wished to avoid mostly.
In all things verbalized orally, intonation is key. If the douchebag who interrupted my coffee sugaring had spoken in a tone and held his body in a way that communicated concern rather than condescension, I would likely have turned my anger inward. One of the weird things about invisible illness is that sometimes it’s visible. The visible times are not necessarily the most painful or otherwise just difficult symptom days, but how is anyone on the outside supposed to know that? So, with a different tone, I would have read him as a concerned douchebag, and hated my body and my self for not being able to pass as healthy.
I should probably do something about that last brain process. It’s totally not healthy. Re-enter brain tornado here ->