A couple of things have happened lately that brought up some ancient metaphors for my life. First off, the wife and I got new wedding rings in London during our trip in April (longtime readers have been bored by my lost ring lamentations for a year now) and we got them fitted at the gorgeous shop in Highbury. We got our ring sizes by trying on several generic rings, of course, and Tessa’s was easy.
Mine, however, kinda sucked. I tried on ring after ring, and each time I said it was too tight, they said it “had to be a little tight” and “fingers change diameter all the time” and finally everyone convinced me to get the size that I KNEW was going to be too small.
After a few months metalsmithing, the rings arrived via post to our house last week, and when I put mine on, I could barely get it off, and my finger bloated up with blood retention.
Okay, story #2: Tessa and Lucy have been doing a lot of ice skating recently, and I’m not going to let them have all the fun, so I started lessons myself. I even bought my own pair of ice skates, mostly because I want to zip around the arena like a hockey player. However, the ice skates themselves are excruciatingly painful.
“They take ten hours to wear in,” I was told. “It’s supposed to be uncomfortable.” “Skaters always get a size down from normal and wear thin socks.” “You feet aren’t THAT flat, they’ll be fine.” Halfway through my lesson with Gary Visconti (yes, the two-time U.S. Champion gold-medalist, thank you), I had to lean over and stop actual tears from rolling down my face, I was in such unbearable agony. Gary was awesome, because his feet were as flat as mine, and knew this was not a problem that was going to go away by grinning and bearing it.
All this to say… why doesn’t anyone except U.S. Figure Skating Champion Gary Visconti listen to me? I get it, I’m a whiner, sure, but I feel like I spent half my childhood telling people something was wrong, and having them tell me I was imagining it. I know shopkeepers (like the ring boutique and the ice skate shop) have long soured on human nature by the placebo effect, thinking that 95% of customer’s problems are psychosomatic. But when I say something is fucked up, it’s almost always ACTUALLY FUCKED UP.
Typical sequence of events in my youth:
1. I tell an adult that my stomach hurts, or that someone at school is beating me up.
2. I am told that it will stop soon enough on its own.
3. A day later, I come back and say, no, it’s worse.
4. I am given a platitude, along with an unworkable “solution” by an adult is busy doing something else.
5. As I leave the room, I hear something about being “way too sensitive” and a general remark about “redheads”.
6. My parents are called by the principal the next day because I’ve “been involved in a major school fight” OR I need to be rushed to the hospital because my appendix is bursting.
I have had enough! I am 43 years old, and I love this ring, but I want it to fit, so FIX IT AND DON’T TELL ME I’LL GROW INTO IT. SAME GOES FOR YOU, ICE SKATE VENDOR. I’ll be WATCHING.