As I Was Saying…

So right, I’ve been gone, and you’ve been positively starved of witticisms, non-governmental conspiracy theories, and pictures of young Brooke Shields smoking cigarettes.

Seriously, what was WITH this girl's mother?

Seriously, what was WITH this girl’s mother?

While I was away, I read four––count ’em!––books, none of which I was too crazy about, to be honest.  One of them was Vivian Gornick’s The Odd Woman and the City.   I haven’t read any reviews of the book yet, but I’m going out on a limb and guessing that my distaste for it is not exactly the majority opinion.  As you all know, I suffer from micrographia, a handwriting affliction that generally points to a neurotic personality.  It is the telltale sign of serial killers, depressives, and Nazi-esque obsessives.  Yay!  Gornick, it seems, has this same affliction, but she, while indeed being neurotic, is also unbearably smug, and so I’m left wondering… does this mean I’m doomed, neurotic AND smug?  What the…

“It was a cold, clear morning in March.  Having just finished interviewing a city official for a piece I was writing, I was sitting at the counter of a coffee shop across the street from City Hall, drinking coffee, eating a bagel, and writing down remembered snatches of the conversation I’d just had when a man sat down one stool away from me.  He wore dark pants and a tweed jacket, looked to be in his fifties, and I took him to be a middle-rank civil servant.  When I had finished eating, drinking, and writing, I stood up, and as I was gathering myself together, he said to me, ‘I hope you won’t mind, I haven’t been able to read a word you’re writing, but I’d like to tell you some things I know about you from your handwriting.’  Startled, I said, ‘Sure, go ahead.’  I took a better look at him then and saw that he wore a large Native American turquoise-and-silver ring and a string tie.  He leaned toward me and said slowly but intently, ‘You’re generous.  That is, you are inclined to be generous, but circumstances don’t allow you to be.  So you’re often not.  You’re assertive.  And a bit aggressive.  And that small script… you’re very literate, very intelligent.’  I stared at him for a fraction of a second. ‘Thanks,’ I said.  ‘That’s a fine flattering portrait you’ve drawn.’  He looked relieved that I wasn’t somehow offended.  Then I said, ‘Is my handwriting really so small?’  He nodded and said yes, it was, and small handwriting, he repeated, is the mark of the very intelligent.  Of course, he added (very softly), there are people who have much smaller handwriting, and they… ‘Are the mad or the brilliant,’ I said, finishing his sentence for him.  ‘Yes,’ he said, again softly, ‘they’re often very brilliant.’  I stood there, looking steadily, perhaps even gravely at him.  He smiled and said, ‘Oh, don’t worry, my handwriting is twice as large as yours.’  I did burst out laughing then, but the remark kept crawling around under my skin for the whole rest of the day.”

Oh right, I forgot: also aggressive, and possibly insane.

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