Monday, October 3, 2011

A Little Girl in the Waiting Room Reveals My Own Narcissism

The little girl won’t shut up as I try to read my book. I look at her gallingly… Her grandmother shares with us, complete strangers, that the little girl suffered a small amount of brain trauma a few years back. I wonder how a little girl thinks of her self when her family talks about her like she’s not there. The man sitting behind them, looking as though he came directly out of a country song, was the only one who had the nads to ask what happened. The direct and diminutive response from “Grandma” was, “her dad.” Everyone in the waiting room was silent for a while, as if a doctor had come in to announce someone had died. I wonder what happened to her mother, the reason they were at the hospital in the first place. I think perhaps “her dad” got to her mother as well, but then I remember my own black eye and how I got that… The little girl continues vocalizing her thoughts to anyone that would listen and it distracts me enough to keep away from negative storylines. Imagine ‘Forest Gump’ at 5-years old with blond pigtails, polka dot rain boots, and the inability to tell the truth. “Grandma” keeps correcting her as she continually lies to the strangers that sit around me. “I’m in kindergarten.” She was only in her first year of preschool.  I pretend the lying has something to do with her abusive father or even the mother that she waits for at the hospital, but I only come back to her telling the woman that got up to get coffee, “I stoled your seat!” Am I a monster for thinking I can create stories based on the monstrous truths I run into?
At this point, I wonder if another person in the room is creating a similar commentary for me. “Look at that guy sitting over there quietly. I’d guess mid-20’s, I can tell he’s married from the ring on his hand, and a beautiful shiner to match on the left eye… I bet he got into a bar fight.” Or perhaps, after talking to me, they would assume I was breaking up a fight at my little sister’s inopportune wedding with one of the many guests there that disagreed with what was happening. Or, despite the occasional joking from my friends, they would think that my wife had hit me over some scuffle we had over dinner about work or family or whatever… If I were to tell them the truth, that I work with college students and a few of us guys were just wrestling at one of our fellowships, I imagine they would roll their eyes allowing imagination to take back over so they can go back to their enhanced, more enjoyable stories. Perhaps I should just stick to being a monster, picturing other’s stories in the quiet of my seat, instead of imagining what others imagine about me. That sort of narcissism would probably turn me into a bigger monster anyway…

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