Tuesday, November 4, 2008

th th th that's all folks

When I was a little boy, I had a terrible stutter. My family as a whole was going through a very rough patch and I reacted by developing a stammer and then was so embarrassed by that, I quit talking, pretty much. By the time I entered adolescence, it had faded away, thank god. Oddly enough, I once mentioned this to my mother and she was amazed to hear that I had stuttered. She said she had never, not once, heard me have a hard time starting a sentence or a word. Were we in parallel universes? I don't know.

I'm still so self-conscious about the possibility of stuttering, I find myself rehearsing what I'm going to order at length the whole time I'm standing in line, just to make sure the words actually get out. The few times since I've grown up that I've had to deal with it has always been because of stress.

So tonight I met a new guy who is a volunteer teacher here for me. We had only communicated by email before and I had no idea that he had a bad stammer of his own. As I was making small talk with him, I realized my own stutter was coming back. Sympathy stuttering, who knew? I was horrified that he would think I was mocking him, I knew couldn't make myself stop (it doesn't work like that) and so I took the coward's way out: I started coughing and pointed towards the general area of the restroom, rushed off and am now hiding at my desk where I will not have to deal with him again, hopefully. Also, hopefully, he'll just think I have consumption and not that I'm a rude jerk.

Life is so complicated.

3 comments:

  1. First of all, mothers *do* live in a parallel universe.


    And I know I find myself instinctively imitating others. It's only natural.

    I just know that I'll begin barking soon enough, after two years of living next to the Ms. Renuzit here.

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  2. Like David Sedaris, I fell victim to an elementary school that decided my sibilant S was a speech impediment (rather than, as of course it turned out, a harbinger of Extreme Fabulousness), and so I spent at least two years seeing a speech therapist, to no great avail (I still sound like Addison DeWitt chanelling a gay munchkin).

    It did, however, give me a really good ear for accents, so that I, too, unthinkingly pick up whatever one I've just heard. There are lots of Indians in this part of the world, and sometimes I'm really afraid they'll think I'm mocking them...

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  3. Honey, I continue to be amazed at the things I don't know about you. You think you know all of a girl's secrets and then . . .

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