Explorations of self and world through art, love, and adventure.
August 11th, 2011
“You know that woman who got attacked by that ape?”
I nod politely, mentally going through what I knew about primate attacks. At the same time, I glance down at the pile of library books she’d just checked out for me. Is there any book in there that could have triggered this question?
“Well, she was on the Today show - not her I mean, but her brother, and they showed her in the hospital bed…”
Ah. I don’t watch the news, but this chick is obviously dying to discuss this story with someone. I try to look attentive, at the same planning to escape with an “How interesting - but I’ve got to go!” at the first sign of a pause. This woman is a stranger to me and yet is chatting me up like nobody’s business.
“You know how that ape ripped her face off? She’s gotten a face transplant! They’re doing her hands too. They did them actually, but she got pneumonia and they had to take them off again. When she’s better, she’ll try again for the hands…”
Visions of a bloody, faceless, handless woman fill my mind’s eye. Oh dear. Still, maybe she has a point to this story? A reason for bringing it up after saying less than five words to me while beeping books into the computer? Anyway she shows no sign of stopping…
“Imagine! People don’t think about that when they donate organs, do they? When my husband died, they took his heart’s valves and froze them. They freeze them for the babies; if a baby needs some, they don’t have time to wait. So they froze his heart valves…”
Heart valves. Frozen heart valves. I wonder if they look like violet tubular popsicles and nearly gag. I murmur something about how nice it was for her husband to donate his heart valves to the little ones. When I shift the weight of my left foot to move toward the door, she fixes me with a manic, glazed-over look. And keeps going.
“They wouldn’t take his eyes though. I’m still upset about that. They wouldn’t take his eyes. When you wear contact lenses, they don’t take your eyes. They’re not ’virgin eyes,’ you see.”
At this point in the rant, I have begun to feel like the target of an organ donation campaign. I sense that she is advising me to donate not only my heart and others in the event of my untimely demise, but also to donate parts of my face. I wear contacts, so my eyes are safe…but “they can use other parts of a person’s face.” Argh. Gurgle. I curb the desire to bolt out too quickly. Luckily she was ending her tirade and took a breath. Her last words to me on my way out the door?
“Have a good day and good luck in school.”
Good grief. You’ve just unknowingly put me off donating my organs, and you’re wishing me good luck? ”They” can have my heart, mind, but NO ONE is going about with MY FACE after I’m cold in the ground.
Strangers talk to me. I guess I just have that kind of face. But this goes on record as the weirdest, most disturbing incident yet. Face the facts: life is unpredictable.