It came out of the blue during one night’s conversation. I’d already been told to “shut up” in so many words because Professor B had a point to make. I didn’t make a sound as she went on and on for ten straight minutes. Being the daughter of an educator, I know the syndrome: Prof. B was in “lecture mode.” It is annoying as hell as well as presumptuous. However, I allowed her to go on because I knew that I’d tell her how little I appreciated it once she figured out how pissed off I was. How I wish it had stopped there, but no, she had to do the nearly unforgivable: She referred to a profoundly developmentally disabled child as an “it.” A few sentences later, she used the phrase “these people” in reference to the same group. I suppose I should be glad that she did count those with developmental disabilities as people on some level the second time because they were not people at all in the first reference. She said that she was on her way to bed when I’d called and I suggested that she continue on her way as I quickly hung up the phone.
After I’d gotten rid of her without completely going apeshit on her, I fumed. There were so many reasons for me to be angry that I am too tired to recount them all. Suffice it to say that I’ve known and seen too many people who treat those with disabilities–be they physical, emotional, mental or developmental–as less than human that I left “outraged” about two train stops ago and have ridden into “thermonuclear.” I have a serious congenital defect. My mother was told to let me die just after I was born. She didn’t. When I didn’t die fast enough, the doctors suggested that she institutionalize me. She didn’t. A lot of other children with my condition were not so lucky. There is absolutely nothing wrong with my brain. There is something wrong with my musculoskeletal system. So, because of that, according to too many doctors, I should have been in an institution. That was the topic of the monologue Prof. B was having with herself. She was remembering what it was like to work with what used to be called “mentally retarded” children. Obviously, there are different levels of “mental retardation.” She was specifically speaking about those who were severely and profoundly disabled. She would have been the kind of person who’d be responsible for raising me if I’d been placed in an institution. Thank you, MOM!!
When I finally got around to making a serious phone call to her to talk about what happened some 48 hour earlier, we got into a yelling match. She couldn’t understand why I’d be upset. In her mind, it was perfectly reasonable to call a developmentally disabled child an “it.” The child’s parents called him/her an “it.” There have been very few times when I’ve wanted to reach through the phone and strangle someone for whom I had feelings. This was one such time. She told me that I shouldn’t take what she said personally and tried to quote some goddamn male pseudo-philosopher on the meaning of being a human being. I could care less what that son of a gun had to say because he had and never would carry life inside of him. Therefore, his feelings on the subject mean less than a damn to me. Then, Prof. B asked if I was pro-choice. Wrong question!! I spat out the difference between talking about a few cells that had divided and a fully-fledged and born HUMAN BEING. The argument went downhill from there.
Prof. B said that she thought I’d never speak to her again. Well, I won’t say “never” only because I know how we women are–at least the lesbians and bi-femmes among us. We tend to become friends after being love interests and cross the line from one to the other without even thinking about it at times. We either have the nastiest break-ups anyone has ever seen or the ones where there is still love, but the realization that we’re not good together . . . only to go sleep together again and again and again ad infinitum until someone says, “Hold it!” By the time that happens, both have half their wardrobes at the other’s abode or they’ve already moved in again. Women are complex creatures, to be sure. That’s why I love us.
It is quite probable that I will speak with Prof. B again. In fact, *sigh* I have to communicate with her in some way because she sent the most beautiful bouquet of yellow flowers I’ve ever seen. It has yellow daisies and the most exquisite yellow roses in a nice, heavy vase. I’m not a heathen. I will send a handwritten note or I will call. That is, assuming I still have her address in my GPS system. I saw the flowers as I was leaving the house to head to the gym Friday and figured out who they were from. They were better off in the slightly-above-freezing sleet than in a warm minivan, so I didn’t pick them up until I returned a few hours later. I had a lot to clear from my mind as I worked out. I didn’t need to have that clear mind punctured with holes upon entering the van. Right now, they are sitting on my piano where they look happy.
I am going to miss Prof. B. There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that I would have gone absolutely ballistic had it been someone I liked even a smidgen less than I liked her who dared to call a child an “it.” The rage I feel at the suggestion that there is some justification for doing so is more than I can describe. There is no justification. Period. End of story. How dare someone, especially a woman, say otherwise! And did I mention that she can’t get why I don’t want to have my reproductive organs removed? Her answer was, “I did it!” “Yeah, and look at you now,” would have been my answer had I been being a human bitch. All in all, I think this end was going to happen one way or the other. Not in my wildest dreams did I think it would be about this. The subject wasn’t even on my radar until she brought it up. I don’t even remember the context of how it came up, only that it did. Damn shame. Damn shame.
Oh well, time to sleep. I’ve got a lot of things that need to be done later in the day, including attempting my first photo shoot for the fetish site I wrote of in “Help with a decision.”