I enjoy wating the Teutels and their extended family (go Rick & Vinnie!) on American Chopper. Their high-spirited hijinx reminds me of what life might have been like if I was born a boy instead of just being born a male bodied tranny.
Last night they did their last “Fantasy Bike.” This one was for a guy who became a parapalegic in an automobile accident, and who needed a trike he could use without balance and with only hand controls.
The Teutels went out to see him in California. They talked about why they liked him, and the answer was simple. He was a nice crip who didn’t make them uncomfortable. “He’s got a good attitude and gets on with his life. He is just like everyone else.”
He brought a big family out for the reveal. His mom spoke to the camera, and his wife was always by his side. You could see the depth of emotion and strain on their faces, or at least I could, because I am used to reading other women. The reason that this guy could be so comfortable for the Teutels is because the women in his family managed the discomfort, the pain and disruption and stress that comes when there is a traumatic event.
He didn’t need to surface the hard parts of being disabled in this society, because the women in his life were processing those emotions for him. The Teutels were then free to see disability as just a technical challenge, and that was comfortable for them. They didn’t have to really understand what it’s like to go thought that event and live every moment, they just had to build a trike that didn’t need legs.
I saw the same thing on a Kathy Griffin special on E!, Best Of The Worst Of The Red Carpet. While I can laugh at Joan Rivers flying off the handle and defending her turf as much as anyone, there was one category that tipped the hat.
“Too Much Information” was the category. It featured people who said things that made the audience uncomfortable, like the state of their dress or of their life. On a red carpet, you see, people only want nice, pretty or funny performances, not anything that is so revelatory it moves them out of their comfort zone.
This is the same as the Teutls. They didn’t want to put themselves in the shoes of a parapalegic guy, they just wanted enough information to build him a bike. Let him keep all the messy parts of his life hidden, and they can get along with him as just another guy.
I know that I am “Too Much Information” and that means I violate the comfort zones of other people. I can’t just fit nicely into their expectations of the world, because I don’t fit easily into their quick separations and shorthanded lives. I think and express ideas & feelings, which is challenging in an anti-intellectual venue. I ask people to hear me rather than just willing to be silent and comfortable.
Of course, my view about this is a bit different.
I don’t think I am “too much information.”
I think they just want “too much comfort.”