Friday, September 5, 2014

Presumptions of Normal

A letter to the editor of The New York Times on August 29 caught my eye:  Referring to a recent article about the dangers of eating too much salt this gentleman remarked that without overconsumption of salt he risks dizziness and other unpleasant if not dangerous side effects.  When he reaches for the salt shaker at restaurants he is sometimes criticized by complete strangers for his lack of concern about his health.

Such things happen to me all the time.  I have learned to ignore the questioning eyebrows when I ask (politely, I hope) for a seat on the subway.  I may not look as though I need to sit but I do. 

As a child there were many things I simply could not do: simple things that required the reflex that I later learned is the crawling reflex: right arm / left leg diagonal coordination.  The presumption was that, since I was smart and also gifted, I should be able to do as others did.  Not so.  I found this extremely frustrating, especially as I had no way of saying "I can't do that!" 

Perhaps that explains why I am so fascinated by people whose inability to imitate is the gateway to the depth of their desire. 

Ironically, people who listen to me play have no notion of my ever not being able to do it.