07 August, 2012

Missing: Giant Green Man Who Smashes

presented by
Mystic Metals Body Jewelry

Missing: Giant Green Man Who Smashes

My singer and I have become insanely close friends, and I am grateful for it. Q is a good man with a good heart. Admittedly, sometimes that heart gets crushed under the weight of playing the character of Q, but when it is free to be what it is, it is a good heart in a good man. Now let me tell you why he's an asshole. Every time, and yes that is an absolute but it's true, we play a casino gig, he goes and puts some tiny and inconsequential amount of money on red or black or maybe at the 21 table, and walks away with a third world country's GNP in winnings. Every time. Recently, Q won ten large (that's $10,000) playing casino games. So Q, if you're reading; I hate you and you're my boy in equal measure. Oh, and thanks for the gas money and good time celebrating the winnings. You're a good man, a good friend, and a man whom I am proud to stand beside. Well, roll beside.

I had an interesting experience with a little boy recently. OK, that didn't read well, so let me stop Dan and Gavin from texting me and breaking my balls. I had an extremely positive interaction with a little boy recently. That one sucks too. Well, at any rate, I talked to a tiny little boy in the toy aisle of Target. Now I have to explain why I was in the toy aisle at Target. Let's abandon this paragraph and start over.

My beautiful and wonderful girlfriend and I were at Target recently looking for... I don't remember what we were looking for. I think tuna fish was on the list. And some sort of shoe. Whenever we go to Target, we roll through the toy aisle. See, we collect those Plushie superhero guys, and we like to see if there are any we don't have. I'm still looking for the Michael Myers, so if you have it, I'll pay well for it. Usually, my beautiful and wonderful light of my life girlfriend pushes my chair and we stack our sundries on my lap. We have a good time. This time, however, my angel was using a cart, so I was pushing myself in my wheelchair. No, I can't do a wheelie yet; stop asking. We have a bit of a traffic jam in one of the toy aisles (they didn't have any Plushies, by the by) involving a mother, a shopping cart, a little boy child, and a little girl child. Smiles and politeness happen and we pass, arriving at the jigsaw puzzles. I'd like to believe that I enjoy puzzles, but I'm very stupid and not very good at them. My sweetheart, however, is fantastic at them. So we look at the puzzles. A tiny little boy child's voice bounces its way off of the walls of the aisle we just left, against the floor, over the overpriced Lego kits and the much more awesome than when I was a kid action figures, and into the intersection where my girl and I stood (figuratively, of course). This is what it said. Well, this is what HE said. I shouldn't call children it, should I?

"How does he turn the wheelchair?"
"I don't know, honey," the mother says. The little girl child peered curiously around the shelves, quietly acquiring the context of her brother's question. I assume they were siblings. She could have been the pool boy's kid. I'm not here to judge the mother's sexual promiscuity. The children, mother, and their cart full of crap emerge from the aisle where my beautiful and I still studied the intricacies of the jigsaw puzzle of a gorilla's face. He looked mean. There, I saw the little boy, curiously looking at my wheels. I smiled at him.

My wonderful girl and I were rolling in the opposite direction now, probably on our tuna fish exploration quest, and I stopped my chair. I turned around and engaged the little boy. I said, "Want to see how this works?" The boy looked at his mother (or who I assume is his mother; he could have been a baby left in a basket on the stoop for all I know) who encouraged him to listen. I demonstrated turning left and turning right and turning completely around. The girl child watched as well, curious but cautious. I showed him the brakes and the handles and the armrests. I showed him the chair and how it worked. "Isn't that neat?" I said. He nodded and smiled excitedly. Then I began to roll away and the mother woman said, "Thank you." "Hey, no problem," I said.

There's a point here. The first is that we lost our Hulk Plushie a couple of days ago, and if he's listening, please come home, Hulk. Captain America and Wolverine miss you, and you're my incredible little guy. The other point is that curiosity ought often be indulged. This relates to all of us, especially in the modification community. We are not as others, to quote a Sepultura song, and because of that strangers are bitten by the curious. When anyone sees something to which he is unaccustomed, he instinctively wishes to know more. Is it dangerous? Is it helpful? Is it going to eat me with it's saber teeth? Can I mate with it? As modded folk, we face some strangely executed curiosity. People want to touch our tattoos, people want to pull on our piercings, people want to ask oft insensitive questions. We know their questions are insensitive because we are on the inside of the culture; often, they do not realize. Our job as the different individual asked or approached is to ascertain the timber and attitude of the query and answer appropriately.

There are folks, and if you're heavily modified or stretched to a large lobe gauge I don't have to tell you, who only start the inquiry about our mods in order to pontificate on their own points of view about modification. Ask me sometime to tell the story about the woman who told me that my mother could in no way be proud of me because of my piercings. I think this is the minority of the curious strangers. The most, I believe, are those who are genuinely curious about what we do, how we look, why we want to look that way, and what our mods mean. Same thing with the wheelchair. It's weird and different to many able people, and that's OK so long as they deal with their curiosity in a way that maintains the dignity of the person in the chair. Or with the modifications, for that matter.

Some questions are difficult to ask to strangers. Like, how did you get that glass eye; or what is it like raising a child with autism; or can you help me with this door. Personally, I will always favor honesty above overprotective PC bullshit. We never know how a stranger is going to react to something that we may believe is a personal issue. We live in a paranoid society, so I think most of us assume that approaching a stranger will end in a maniacal killing spree before it ends in a new friendship. But if one wishes to know more for the simple edification of that knowing, we should indulge and do it politely. My example with the little boy child hedges the situation a little because it's a little boy child and I'm probably not going to get in his little stupid face about being rude. Probably. But his mother type person who was accompanying him handled the situation perfectly. She let the boy child freely carry his question on his own, didn't interrupt, didn't tell him to behave or how to phrase what he wanted to know. That made me feel good. She allowed the child to be a curious little kid which, in my opinion, will never hurt a child. Of course, I don't own one, so I may be dumb about children. I don't really like them either.

Social rules about asking questions are pretty dicy, but when we experience a good stranger interaction, we ought to recognize. I'm learning the oddities about what a stranger may feel when speaking to me in the chair, and that perspective helps my interaction with them. There are similar perspectives in the unmodded-modded interaction. It helps to understand where the curiosity is coming from, what the stranger hopes to gain in their inquiry, and what the stranger may be feeling while asking the questions. With the chair, I've realized that folks don't know what to do with themselves or what words to choose. It's awkward, I've learned, for someone to have a normal, social conversation with someone whose face is at scrotum level. Do I kneel down? Do I bend over? Do I make jokes? Do I treat the disability as a woeful thing? Do I celebrate the other things and ignore the disability? These are all things going through the able person's mind, and I imagine it's not easy. Personally, I don't like when folks kneel down to my eye line to talk to me. It makes me feel like a second grader getting a talking to about how shitty my construction paper cutting is. (I'm looking at you, Ms. Childres.) I don't like when women ask to sit on my lap when they're already in the process of wedging their fat asses between my armrests. It makes me feel like furniture. But that list of how to talk to a chair person is a different blog that I probably will forget to write. This one is more positive.

Be kind to the curious. Be honest with them. Be a real person with them as if you've known them for years. Whether it's about mods or chairs or crutches or your creepy glass eye, treat the asker with the respect you'd expect from the question. Be a real person, and you'll be treated like a real person; not as the guy in the chair or the broad with the big ear lobes. That's always the goal, right? And Hulk? Please come home. Stay beautiful, kids.

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