Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Right from the start I kept talking about Kirk. Not about what was happening always, although it was important to talk about that too, but just about him. He was part of our lives, he always would be, and I didn't want the horrible stuff that was happening now to stain backwards over the rest of our lives together.

So whenever something happened that reminded me or the kids of Kirk, of something we had done together or the sort of things he would say, I would talk about it. It wasn't a huge choice on my part; it was perfectly natural. We've never really lost those memories, we talk about him all the time and it's good.

The problem is other people. I'll be talking with friends and something Kirk said, or something we did together will be relevant and I'll quite happily add it into the conversation. It seems to be the social equivalent of tossing a matching set* of underwear into the middle of the room.** Everyone gets embarrassed and uncomfortable and then reacts according to their personality:

Type 1 feigns complete unawareness of the underwear. There is no underwear. There is no underwear.

Type 2 shifts a little, gives a sort of combination hiccup-cough to acknowledge that the underwear is there but really we should not mention the underwear because Miss Manners has not covered underwear (HA! Best phrase I have ever written on this blog! I'm unbelievably pleased...)*** and what does one do at this point?

Type 3 acknowledges the underwear gravely with a preternatural solemnity - even if the story was funny. Underwear: it is very serious stuff and should never be taken lightly.

Type 4 flares its nostrils a bit but girds up metaphorical loins and soldiers on with the conversation, valiantly including the underwear but making a bit of an effort to do so.

Type 5, the rarest of all beasts, accepts that now and then into every room a little underwear must fall and (oh dear. I should have chosen a better metaphor) embraces the underwear gracefully.

I do understand that it's hard to know what to say when someone has had a tragedy. I'm past the point now when I feel I have to work extra hard to make other people feel comfortable around me and my Very Dreadful Life. I've gotten used to the fact that yes, it makes people uneasy when I talk about Kirk.

I could stop doing it I suppose, although it would take a real effort because we were married for 15 years; my stories are his stories. I would have to mentally edit much of my life just to keep people from feeling a little uneasy. Somehow I think that would be wrong.

Of course, it would be much more wrong to do it on purpose just to watch folks squirm. I save that for special occasions.


*Tasteful mind you, and clean.

** Not that I have ever done this.

*** I have a deep suspicion that this post will bump me up the Weird Searches on Google That Include The Word Underwear and Miss Manners. The price I pay...


Anonymous said...

I think this might be my favorite blog post ever but I'll have to reserve judgment until you post a photo of the pig...

Child 1 said...

I still mourn for Pickles. Anyway, type 5: Look at you with deep concern as if your underwear just flung itself accross the room into the punch bowl, and say with much feeling, "It's alright you'll pull through." its the "i pity you line"

For Kirk said...

Child 1 - how about type 6? who gazes with pity at your underwear and then says "I really admire you, you're so strong." Because, you know, there's that underwear and there you are all breathing and stuff. Amazing.

child said...

i hate that kind

Mrs Boob Pencil said...

I can relate to this. It was the same in the days after I had my miscarriage, whenever I mentioned it. It was annoying to be honest, and I too did (very) occasionally throw malicious underwear into the centre of the room. But I've been guilty of reacting badly to other people's underwear, too. Great analogy by the way.

Megan said...

MBP - you know what's ridiculous is that having [warning - metaphor abuse imminent] an underwear event in your own life doesn't actually make you (or, rather, me) any better at dealing with someone else's underwear. I mean, it's different SORTS of underwear (personally I think mine's a thong...). What I am much more aware of though is that need to talk about it, and to have someone just listen.