Saturday, January 04, 2003

Why does everyone love me so much?

OK. Not everyone loves me. There is this woman who doesn't want me to use the computers.

So the ivy-league NPR-listening-tweed-skirt- wearing type of woman does not love me. But most everyone else does.

For some inexplicable reason, I am adorable. When I was hunting for jobs I remember I used to get this look from the middle aged plump white men in the interview. I called it the ‘koala bear’ look. They would look at me as if I was soooo cute. “Ooooh. It’s so cute! And it talks, too!” I was never sure if they heard what I said because their eyes would mist over with so much adoration.

I usually didn’t get the job although they always tried to hug me.

The thing is, I really don’t look all that cute: I’m not short, I don’t have a snub nose, freckles, blue eyes, or any of those markers of cuteness. And I’m not cute inside. I’m conflicted, self-hating, cranky, self-absorbed and bitter. So there has to be some other explanation.

The free stuff. I’m reluctant to write about the free stuff. I think deep down inside, I truly like getting free stuff. I secretly gloat about it. Yet, I also feel conflicted and guilty about it. I never knew that it was all that unusual until my friend Su pointed it out once in New York that the street vendors would give me discounts that they wouldn’t give her. She would buy a hat for $4 and then they would sell it to me for $2. Someone sitting next to us at the counter in the diner bought us a piece of pie and she said no one has ever bought her pie. For me, it is an almost daily occurrence to be given something without paying for it. Of course, sometimes (like with the street vendors where I was obviously broke) it simply occurs from pity. I got a free ice cream cone when I was counting my pennies on the counter. A woman behind me just handed some money to the cashier and left. If I say ‘how much is the large orange juice?’ and they say ‘it is $3.25’ I order the small. Then they come up with a smile and give me the large. It’s gotten so I’m afraid to ask how much something costs or spend the usual 20 minutes counting out my change. But sometimes I’m standing in line at the convenience store with a Pepsi and a person ahead of me in line buys my Pepsi. How can they tell I am broke? I didn’t even start digging in my backpack for change yet. Do I really dress that slovenly?

The reason I’m thinking of this is that the other day at Target the cashier shoplifted for me. I asked him how much something was and it was too much. I gave it to him to put behind the counter—saying I didn’t want it. He put it in my bag somehow and I got it for free. I would think it was a mistake, but that sort of thing happens to me all the time.

Even in school. One girl would shave part of her hair off and she would be thrown out of school. I would shave part of my hair off and the nuns would just shake their heads and chuckle. My beautiful sister was run out of that school on a rail by those nuns. But they loved me.

I forgot! I know the answer! I forgot Eric’s theory! We were sitting on his couch watching Twin Peaks. I’m pretty sure we weren’t high although we may have been drunk. He said “Everyone loves you. Why does everyone love you?” I had that mixture of emotion I get of pride and shame but then he provided this explanation: “It’s because you have a big head. Like a baby. Babies have big heads. That’s why everyone loves you. Mikhail Gorbachev for example—he had a big head.”

This theory comforts me greatly because it makes it so I am not responsible for the love of others. It’s purely a biological reaction to the size of my head. The fact I don’t deserve this love thereby becomes a moot point. Do babies deserve the love they get? Do babies have to do anything when you love them? No. So I don't have to do anything to deserve that is all biological in nature.

The problem is getting accustomed to everyone loving you and then depending on that love. For some reason (I have an explanation but don’t want to offend anyone who lives in the Midwest) people just did not love me quite the same when I lived in Ohio. Or rather, a few people did but in general I found many more who were quite suspicious of me. It was disconcerting. I couldn’t handle it, actually.

And of course when everyone does love me I just start hoping they’ll all go away and leave me alone.


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