Wednesday, February 22, 2006

When I was Born

I don’t think I’m a good person.
And I’m okay with that.
I’m a true believer in the fallacy of a moral compass attuned to polar good and bad.
I am not a good person.
Claiming oneself to be a good person is a crutch utilized only by the weak.
I am a strong person.
It is the all-forgiving of a confessional; forgive me Father for I have sinned.
It has been nine days since my last confession. I have sinned again.
My sins are as follows: but I am good.

So here I am sitting at table, in the campus food court. It’s busy, noisy, there is almost visible steam rising from the damp bodies, in from the cold, on all sides.
It’s a little before noon, unusually early for me to be eating, and I have a vegetarian burrito wrapped in aluminum foil. This burrito is part of what makes the day right and good, along with the chattering students, the ducks printed on my underwear, and the familiar old pair of Converse on my feet.

My companions: to my left an intimate, to my right a near stranger. The intimate brings up my dislike for children, the stranger tells me, “you’ll change your mind.” He trips, into a trap I wasn’t aware of having laid. Perhaps it’s just my imagination but I feel an almost-predatory smile take me over, humorless but for the nasty, brutish, enjoyment of culling my intellectual inferior – remember: I’m not a good person.

I catch his eye, hold his gaze, force it.

I tell him “that’s condescending,” and “that’s incredibly rude,” and “it’s not polite to tell someone they don’t know their own mind about anything else, why do people feel it’s okay to tell me I’ll change mine about wanting children?”

It was over before the awareness of what I was doing had even fully reached me and it was exhilarating. It was telling off everyone who had ever felt free to criticize me to my face because I was different, felt it their right to tell me what I thought, to presume that I didn’t know my own mind because of my age, or my gender, or my parent’s unorthodox approach to childrearing.

And all I had ever done before is smile and turn a blind eye to their rudeness (a result of their poor upbringing, I don’t doubt.)

And I’m not a good person and losing control was the best thing that ever happened to me. And that burrito tasted pretty damn good too.

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