Inheritable traits & metaphors


My sister and I, although adequately graceful in most areas of our lives, had the great misfortune of inheriting a particular trait from our father: our nose-blowing, individually but especially collectively, is a high decibel experience. On any given morning in our household, one can hear the demonstration of nasal power. And oh is it powerful. We always likened the noise to that of an elephant (whereas some people sneeze like mice – I do not trust these people). That is, until we were presented with an incredibly apt metaphor, much more accurate than our own:

“Cierra, you know what you sound like when you blow your nose? Like when you drag your suitcase across those metal things at the beginning and the end of escalators.”

Do you guys know what my 11-year-old cousin is talking about? Because she hit the nail right on the head. And instead of mourn my apparent lack of ladylikeness, I thought wow, METAPHORS! LANGUAGE! THIS STUFF IS AMAZING! An elementary schooler just brilliantly described a previously indescribable sound my nose has been making for my entire life.

And it’s just like that, whether it’s funny or gorgeous or melancholy as hell, words can not only envelop but become a feeling (or a noise, for that matter). I’ve found innumerable instances of this just in the past few days, in my second and much more successful attempt to read Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, with whom I proudly share a birthday. I started reading this book in high school and I was wildly unprepared, low in energy and consequently low in the amount of effort I put forth – I didn’t understand a thing and I was disappointed. Four years later, I’m underlining something on every page because these words give me feelings. “He would fall asleep with his heart at the foot of his bed, like some domesticated animal that was no part of him at all.” Excuse me, Jonathan, that is my heart you are breaking.

Not that I’m required to have one, but what is my point? Surprise, there are three.

  1. I think words are really cool and you should think so too.
  2. People say “the right person at the wrong time is the wrong person,” and I think I believe that. But the same cannot be said for books. I’m willing to lump music in there too. The right book or song at the wrong time could still be the right book or song at the right time. And, in all likelihood, the right time will come. Books have chapters and so does life.
  3. I’m not embarrassed about the way I blow my nose. I’m not embarrassed about the way I blow my nose. I’m not embarrassed about the way I blow my nose.

Also, I got blood drawn today and it took my perfectly competent nurse three painful tries to lure anything out of my itty-bitty, impossible-to-find veins. Even my bloodways are stubborn and somewhat elusive. Cheers to perfect consistency.


On the subject of handshakes.

Is it just me, or are handshakes a total nightmare?

Lately I have found myself meeting a lot of new people, which is great. People are great. Love them. But meeting people usually requires some degree of contact and, since I don’t live in France, that means a handshake is the most appropriate thing to do. This is not about me being a germophobe – this is a matter of humiliation for me. I legitimately suck at shaking peoples’ hands. I wish I could say I had a firm, confident handshake, but that would be a colossal lie, so I won’t say it. It’s like my brain cuts off control to my hand and it just sits there, being shaken around by another, less embarrassing hand. I went in for a check-up the other day, and the nurse introduced herself and – you guessed it – initiated a handshake, and I honestly thought she was going to refer me to some higher-up specialist doctor because I clearly have no muscles in my hands. Really, it’s disturbing.

It’s not that I don’t want to partake in this form of greeting, I’m just an incredibly distracted person. What am I going to eat later? Why is “Can’t Fight This Feeling” always stuck in my head? How is the internet even a thing? Why is this person staring at me? Oh right, they’re holding onto my mysteriously unmoving hand.

Hugs also pose a problem for me. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good hug. But hugs are just another example of me being distracted and doing things incorrectly. Let me elaborate: I am 5’3″, which means a pretty sizable segment of the population is taller than me. Yet I always instinctively go for the top of the hug – stupid instincts. The whole situation makes zero sense to me, but it always happens, without fail. I try to remind myself to take height difference into account, but everything goes out the window when I start rising up onto my tiptoes – it’s all over.

I’m good at some things: I never fall down when I rollerskate, I’m great at buying books at Value Village and never reading them, and I am halfway-decent when it comes to making a grilled cheese (this is a recent development). I’m just abysmally bad at shaking my hand during handshakes and being practical with my hugging techniques (or lack thereof). Are there classes for this?*

Thank you and goodnight.

*kidding, completely (kind of)