November 11, 2008
I can’t be the only one, but often I have been. When Vanilla Ice shook the rap world with his white skin and Ice Ice Baby, I thought for sure that everyone was going to shave their eyebrows just like Ice himself. I was the only one.
I also thought that other kids must be burying overdue library books down by the pond in discreet spots. It seemed the logical solution to avoiding the disappointment in Mrs. Powell’s grey crow-footed eyes for actually returning them so pathetically late (guess I’ve always been a great avoider of conflict). I was the only one.
Similar thinking led me to believe that everyone kept collections of bats and newborn opossums in formaldehyde as personal museum collections (numbered and catalogued of course, on shelves groaning with mica, skunk cabbage root, owl pellets, bird skulls and such). But, I was the only one. Everyone else seemed to fascinated with the Babysitters Club books, ATARI and Playmobile figurines. Or, watching Family Ties, Diff’rent Strokes and The Cosby Show.
So, this morning as I was scanning my KLM e-ticket and visa extension request for Immigration I checked my Facebook page to see if anyone was up or if there were any witty status updates that I had to comment on. I noticed a message from my brother, followed in two short minutes by another. His second message was his admission that he had just ‘’pulled a Grandma’’ when he responded to my latest update—Dax had hit ‘Reply All.’ This was definitely a grandma move so I quickly responded, laughing at him for being so much like our mother, hitting Reply All, despite having the brains to cure cancer and being capable of talking genomes and DNA strands all day. In his first message he had asked me who so-and-so was. She (so-and-so) had obviously contacted him from looking at my friend list. Any friend of mine is generally a friend of my brother’s, we are a gay package deal.
Looking at the clock, I hastily tapped out a description of the above-mentioned so-and-so to Dax, said “way to go Mom, on the Reply All” and sent the message. In that fleeting moment I felt the hot prickles of holy shit—what did I just do? I did what Dax had just done and replied to all! My palms and armpits went into sweating overdrive and my brain suddenly felt too big for my skull bones. Shit shit shit. Not that I said anything too scathing, but, I thought I was just sharing a private, semi-judgmental conversation with my brother (gay people are supposed to be judgmental, right?). How did Reply All even become an option? The office became overwhelmingly hot, I felt like there were flames licking at my face. I checked my Sent file, hoping for other news. Maybe I imagined seeing Reply All. Nope, there it was, a long list of friends who didn’t even know so-and-so, but had been just updated.
I fretted for a solid 10 minutes, trying to undo my mess, fooling myself that deleting a sent message would delete it from the history of the world. My ribs squeezed at my heart and I thought of how I might soon be contacted by the management staff of Facebook Inc., notifying me that I had been demoted to Two-Faced Book. I cringed.
I emailed my brother, painfully careful to ensure that the message was going just to him and recounted the whole ordeal (which with my run-on thoughts can eat up KB’s like no other). Dax of course would be fast asleep in Toronto, the hum of streetcars lulling him into REM hours ago. Again, I had this thought, am I the only one? (Besides Melissa Etheridge who’s the only one who’ll walk across the fire and drown in her desire when all your promises are gone).
Wasn’t there a Friends episode when Rachel or Monica left a message on someone’s answering machine (Ross or Tom Selleck’s?) that they were frantic to retrieve? Now of course, you can do a few dry runs of a voice mail message and continue doing takes until you are happy with your no longer original message. This is what I needed, someone to prompt me and say, ‘’are you happy with this message? Do you realize 20 other people are going to read it, Dummy?’’
I stopped fretting because it was out of my reach, but as I walked to catch the matatu to Kampala, I hoped that karma wouldn’t bite me in the ass. I think it did take a chomp though when the boda I was on was sandwiched between two matatus later that morning. And, the boda bike did bounce off two bumpers, oh, and then I was clipped in the elbow by another boda mirror—and slammed my helmet-less head on my driver’s helmet when he narrowly avoided a collision with a Corolla. That was enough karma right?
Anyway, I can’t be the only one. It happened to my brother, and me in a span of hours. Does anyone want to confess? It would make me feel so much better—and, c’mon, I revealed the Vanilla Ice eyebrow thing. I am exposed, I am raw, I have librarians contacting my parents in Brantford with thousand dollar fines. Please share, because you know I’d walk through the fire for you, Melissa is not the only one.