Growing up, I was extraordinarily shy and soft-spoken. My sixth-grade reading teacher, Mr. Slicklein, nicknamed me "Megaphone," because, he claimed, that's what I needed to speak through for anyone to hear me. (If I hadn't gotten 100 percent on each of those weekly vocabulary tests, Mr. Slicklein, I think I just might hold a grudge.)
My father, whose sense of hearing was a bit compromised, let's say, could never hear the stories that I told at the dinner table. "Enunciate and project," he'd tell me. Enunciate your words. Project your voice.
Drove. Me. Nuts.
And here I am, years down the road, with little Miss Natalie, who stands no higher than my thigh. She, at times, speaks so softly, that I cannot hear her. So I ask her to repeat what she said. And I repeat back what I think I heard. And she tells me that no, no, that's not at all what she said. And she tries again. And I try again. And we both grow frustrated.
It's times like those when tell Jim, "Karma. This is karma. For all those times when no one could hear me, this is karma."
Damn karma and her devious ways.
She shows her peculiar sense of justice at meals, too: My father used to watch in awe as I trimmed my food with the precision of a surgeon. I could not, and still cannot, stand to have a speck of fat with my meat. So, I slice and I dice.
My grandmother once gave me a little box of Sun-Maid raisins. As I plucked the last raisin from the box, I noticed a meal worm wrapped around it. Took the bloom right off my nutrious little snack.
What was that George W. Bush flub? "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me, you can't get fooled again." Yeah. That. No insect is going to get by me, let me tell you. So I inspect almost everything before I eat it. I study all sides of a fruits and vegetables, looking for mushy spots, bruises, stowaway insects. I'm a cautious eater, and so is Natalie.
She inspects her food, bite by bite, rejecting anything that is slightly mushy or bruised or glistening with fat. She turns up her nose at mosts meats based on its texture. She eats just like me.
And on those days when meals are tedious because Natalie is plodding along, eating eerily like me, I again look to karma and her wily ways.
What goes around comes around, and karma kicks us all in the butt in the end of the day. —Angie Stone
©Jennifer Linney. All Rights Reserved.
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