Some people collect dolls, baseballs, or matchbooks. I collect quirks. There is nothing more delicious than well crafted, expulsion-worthy behavior, or a good Tourette's Syndrome shout out. My days are glorious - full of twitches, queer noises, naughtiness and scary smells. Human oddity is my specialt(more)y.
I hoard things my students say. I write them on sticky notes and tote them home in my purse to tell my family. Today Max, who is on the autism spectrum, shouted out “Lorraine, your wheelchair is caught in a bear trap” during a vocabulary test. Cody asked me if blood really comes out of the holes in girls, and Charlie, from a fetal position on the floor, told me his family’s basement is full of “pails of cats.”
The ham fisted, club footed, deaf-blind, learning disabled and the institution able salt my memories, spice up my stories and fuel my dreams. I collect them in my mind vault to laugh about when I need a lap robe. I am rich in ways I cannot explain to you.
I am supposed to get my students to pass the state reading test, but I really only care about them learning to like qualities other people think are not “normal.” They have taught me the secret: we are all equally fucked up.
That is exactly why I know I could like you.
Why don’t you come over for dinner? I will assess your weirdness and ignore your normal, because that is not interesting. I will discover what you are blind to, what you cannot hear, where you dare not walk, why you need therapy, and in what you are retarded. Only then will I really love you.