Thin Skin

Halloween is a time when the veil between this world and the under world is thinnest, at least according to the old stories.

I know that it is a time when my skin is at it’s thinnest.

I was going down the aisle in the dollar store today, between a woman looking at the shelves to my right, her back to me, and a tower of boxes displaying merchandise.

I squeezed behind her, but as I passed, she chose to back up without looking, brushing into me.

It was not pleasant, and I whipped my right arm behind my back and moved on, thinking it was no big deal.  It happens in cities all the time, even if rarely in this Republican suburbia.

Apparently she was angered though, because her older mother asked what happened.

“That person bumped right into me and didn’t even apologize!  How rude!” she exclaimed.

I heard.  She backed into me without looking, and I am to blame?

I came back to explain my view. 

She admitted that she couldn’t see me, but said it was my fault, because I should have said “Excuse me” before passing her by.

Do we really have to say excuse me when we pass next to anyone in the aisle?  Is it our responsibility to make everyone aware even when they are in their own world?  Isn’t that a problem in its own way?

Her mother wanted to tell me that it was not a big deal, implying I was making the big deal out of it.  I was the one who treated it as no big deal — it was her daughter who wanted to blame and castigate me for my incredible rudeness.

I was upset as I left, telling the mother that “I don’t like being blamed.”

Of course, it was no big deal, just something that should be sloughed off by latent inhibition. 

To me, though, on a day where I feel the tightness and pain, especially when I see the woman in the black mini, heeled boots and Halloween tights I should be wearing, it was just another example of how people want to assign blame and responsibility to others, want to be indignant for events caused by their own blindness.

My skin is thin, everything on the surface.


And now, time to figure out how to make the casserole I just learned I have to make for my parents to take to my sister-in-law’s house, and wait while my mother decides not to go out, and then cover while they leave, and spend Halloween locked, lost and skinned.

3 thoughts on “Thin Skin”

  1. I got hectored for taking pictures of trailer park kids who rang the doorbell — America Is Fear — no one ate the casserole, and the neighbour lady got all upset when I refilled her abandoned treat bowl with my mother’s hoarde of secondary candy.

    One day a year, and when it gets creamed — like two years ago when my sister took my Halloween to wait for someone who never arrived — it just digs the hole deeper.

    And who the hell knows how to help someone who is already buried, if not yet dead?

    Well, a few kids laughed a little. “Well, you look like someone from Kiss, but I haven’t seen your tongue.” That’s something, if not very much.

    To all who didn’t affirm it to me, may all your Halloweens be affirming and magical.

  2. I had to pick up my sister from the Garage this morning, take her back when her car is finished.

    I told her this story.

    She had no response, none. She just sucked her thumb — yes, she sucks her thumb at age 50 — and said nothing.

    I work hard to engage all her stories about the abuse she goes though at work.

    But me? Too hard.

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