I sit and breathe and try to recall my whole life. I now sit serenely in the brush by this shouldering road. It winds tightly through the Peloponnesian town of Megalopolis, where I sit, through the pink stucco homes clinging staccato to the high side of the mountain our bus, heaving, climbed. Rapt speech in the restaurant behind is mere chatter.
Again and again, I told myself I wasn’t ashamed of my condition…. Yet alone, waiting for a McCosh nurse to take my weight, I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed by what the eating disorder had made of me.
Think of your immediate associations with Greece: beyond a few thoughts about party islands the visual symbols that arise in your mind are the classical pillars, democracy, and philosophy that serve as the foundations of your worldview.
I’d just been hit by a car, and I had the urge to go ballistic, to scream and curse at the idiot behind the wheel while banging dents into his hood. It seemed like a natural and reasonable reaction for me to have given the circumstances. But instead I just looked at him, wide-eyed, and tried to remain calm as I steered my bike towards the side of the road.
Our guns were semi-automatic, which means you could shoot as fast as you pulled the trigger, and even an amateur like myself found myself reeling off three or four paintballs a second. I could feel every individual shot through its reverberations—no real recoil to speak of, but a satisfying pneumatic thwunk as the ball hurtled through the barrel.
An inability to pronounce one’s name can meddle with one’s self-esteem. Child psychologists might study this some day: take a roomful of first-generation American children and ask them to introduce themselves to one another, then watch them struggle to eke out the syllables on loan from the lands their parents left behind.
I’m always quick to spell out or clarify my name when it’s asked for. Call it my preemptive strike against the flicker of uncertainty in the barista’s eyes or the note of hesitation in the agent’s voice.