Tuesday, 31 May 2016

show and tell

One of the most “challenging” things about getting Little Miss Domino out of the door of a morning is the fact that, just as she gets ready, she invariably says that she needs to find something for “show and tell”.

(me neither)

I don’t know if this is specifically an American thing but I’ve become aware that I’ve been doing this a bit at work - I seem to be going through a period when, even though I consider myself pretty-much out of that particular closet, more and more people have been coming up to me, doing the classic head-cock-thing and asking, “are you ok?”

I know, the bastards.

This isn't just people at work however. People who I see socially - parents of other kids in particular - have been asking the same question. Rightly or wrongly, I’ve been tending to jump straight in with:

“[gesturing to my sticks] Oh these? I just need to use them to get about. I’ve got Multiple Sclerosis so I’m disabled… No I’m OK… It is what it is….”

I don’t know if this is a good way to go about my business, but I’m not trying to get up in anyone’s grill (or anything). 

However it has to be said there is something kind-of militant about rocking the TWO STICK look. But after taking this stance for a while, it just gets a bit tiring.

One day arriving at work recently I was feeling pretty weary when I happened to walk into two circus / acrobatics performers (as you do - seriously, the things these people can do are frankly astonishing. And not a little unnatural).

Anyway, despite the fact one or both sticks are in use every day, they had obviously never clocked them in use, so they asked me “what’s happened?”

It was early in the day, they are lovely (FREAKS but lovely) and I couldn’t bear to get into it, so I ended up mumbling something so inconsequential that I have no memory of it.

So I’m now being hyper-aware of when I choose to “double-stick” - obviously I won’t let myself come a cropper physically for the sake of making anyone feel uncomfortable.

As the more obvious affects of my MS seem to be getting more and more noticeable, I might need to come up with a new answering technique which:
(a) Is honest about the situation
(b) Doesn't make the asker feel like a schmoe

6 comments:

Ms. CrankyPants said...

Steve! I have a DYNAMITE suggestion to augment your two-stick look: add a COOLING VEST and HEADBAND, both of which *I* have been totally rocking this season.

Sorry to have been remiss in commenting here. I always read, if that helps. Oh and yes, Show and Tell is an American phenomenon. You bring in something to class -- An Interesting Leaf! -- and talk about it. Delightful!

stevedomino said...

be still my beating heart...

ah Ms. CP, always a delight to get one of your comments - if i was a big enough man, i'd say that it's enough to know that you're reading the posts and there's really no need to comment.

but if there's a reason for writing this stuff other than validation from your peers then i'm damned if i know what it is...

thanks for the insight into Show and Tell - Miss D sometimes has a last-minute grab amongst our seemingly endless collection of cheap plastic crap and pulls something out at random. delightful, sure, but i genuinely worry about what she can find to say about most of it - i'm sure other parents feel the same!

Ms. CrankyPants said...

Oh, pshaw!

If I were less of a lazy ass, I'd be commenting more. As a truly witty member of the CE, you deserve much more peer recognition. I'll TRY* to do better!

(See: lazy ass, above)

swisslet said...

Surely the only response an Englishman - no matter how ill-feeling or disabled or whatever they may be - can give to being asked how they are is to say
"FINE"
And no self-respecting Englishman will have the poor taste to push any further than that.

I read somewhere that you should respond to those sorts of enquiries with an absurd superlative.
"I'M AMAZING"
...this is partly because of the effect it has on someone expecting the bland answer they usually get as part of social discourse, but mostly because apparently saying it out loud is a step closer towards believing it and it genuinely affects your mental state.

I'm always disarmed when someone cocks their head and asks how I am. I've just run a marathon, so it doesn't happen all that often, but some of the people who know me best know what to look for (things I barely notice myself). I never know what to say. I'm always touched too, as sometimes it comes from the people you least expect.

Power to you, Steve. We really need to get off our arses and sort out that beer.

stevedomino said...

i like the idea of the "I'M AMAZING!" response - i'll try that when i go back to work next week but i think people will just think i'm being hyper-sarcastic!

i do usually go with "FINE" in response to a general enquiry, those above have been very specifically stick-related - but i have noticed that when i ask people how THEY are (in all walks of life), this is how the conversation increasingly plays out:

ME: so how're you doing?

THEM: yeah...

which is no kind of response!

hmmm - beer.

swisslet said...

Increasingly, I find that, when I reply to that query with a "good thank you", the person I'm talking to isn't really listening and hears "good thanks. You?" And answers accordingly. I find that both annoying and socially awkward. I also dislike the lack of sincerity that is often found in the whole exchange. It's a minefield!