Follow Janet On Twitter!





Archive for June, 2011

Claw Machine Rescues 2010-11

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Here’s the haul from two rescue missions. Thankfully, I’m not around the evil stuffed animal prisons much. Or I’d be broke. This group is now on its way to Toys For Tots. And we can all breathe a sigh of relief that these precious stuffed animals’ lives have been saved.

This poor tiger was so difficult to rescue. They’d locked him in a giant claw machine that cost two bucks a game to play. And his shape made him nearly impossible to get all the way to the door. Thankfully, I cleverly used the 3-games-for-5-bucks option and was finally able to save this poor fellow. Picked him up nine times, finally managed to extricate him on the final try. He is now on his way to live with my niece.

This was pure self-indulgence on my part. Well, actually, I needed the watch. But kept picking up the “gold and silver” (strange toxic metal from China) necklaces. The sunglasses came up with a necklace. Two for one!

And I wore the watch for the entire vacation. Sweet!

On Being The Nail That Sticks Up

Monday, June 6th, 2011

I am noticeable. I am “different.” I am “weird.” I always have been, even when I didn’t express my inner eccentricities through my hairstyle and dress. Someone affixed a sign on my head when I was 8 or 9 that said, “Hey! Over here!” And I started to attract attention, both good and bad. While the sign mostly works for me, it’s been a hell of a journey coming to terms with it. And I’m still not there. While our society touts the “individual” and encourages people to “be themselves,” this is mere lip service. When you’re different, you take lots of crap. Period.

It all started in fourth grade. The same year I encountered my first abusive teacher. I made the mistake of yawning in her class. “I hate seeing a lot of holes in the classroom,” she pronounced, and sent me to the nurse’s office to take a nap. Thank God for the expression of absolute shock on the nurse’s face. She echoed my inner voice, which said, “Your teacher is a psycho bitch from hell.” Fourth grade was also the first time I experienced an attack from a group. Boys from my class began chasing me home from school and spitting on me. When I retaliated, I got blamed. Crazy Teacher sided with the bullies.

From then on, the pattern seemed set. Freshman year in high school, another group of young men followed me around and spat on me. Update: I have since received heartfelt apologies from all the participants. I asked them why they chose me and none had answers. I credit the sign.

Junior year, I found theater and a sense of belonging, but continued to be singled out. Three girls harassed me until I lost my cool and attacked them. My only fistfight. Thankfully, the school sided with me.

In college, I experienced extreme persecution when I accidentally cut off my hair and went punk to save face. I ended up on the cover of the lifestyle section of the paper as “The First Punk Rocker of Gilroy.” Friends and family abandoned me in droves. Going out meant stopping traffic and having people point and stare.

The event freaked me out so much, I grew out my hair and bought normal clothes. But that didn’t stop the abuse — in fact, it got worse. After college, I worked as a bookkeeper and was blackballed at every job. The woman who replaced me at one job told me the actual word “blackballed” had been used. Discouraged, I returned to college and theater. I did well, but also experienced more persecution. I had to quit a project and inadvertently screwed over a friend. I apologized profusely, but my apology wasn’t accepted. Many classmates boycotted my play. Thankfully, mutual friends neutralized the torches-and-pitchforks crowd.

After graduation, I started bookkeeping for the local water company. The treasurer gave me a raise and signed me onto the bank account to make bill paying easier since two signatures were required on checks. But when questioned about her actions by an auditor, she must have thought she’d be in trouble for making the decisions because she lied and said I’d given myself the raise and snuck myself onto the bank account. I was fired and no one believed me because I had pink hair.

By this time, I was thoroughly sick of being persecuted and started cleaning houses. The only job where people were nice to me. And this is when I discovered writing. Perfect job. I could look the way I wanted and hide in my office. And while I receive hate mail occasionally for what I write, it’s much better than having people abuse me in person.

My life is a perfect example of the dichotomy of the messages we receive from society. In America, we tout freedom of expression. We tout the “individual.” “Being true to yourself” is a mantra for our age. Yet we don’t practice what we preach. We live in a super-narrow culture with little tolerance for differences in physical appearance. Or differences of opinion. We fear the “Other.” Which brings me to the unwritten and unspoken rule of our society: If you’re different or noticeable, expect abuse.

Take my recent vacation. After a six-hour-long car ride through sleet and snow, I checked into my hotel and stumbled into the elevator. I found myself surrounded by a bowling team. Background: I am now sporting a pink Faux-Hawk — a Mohawk on top, but with short hair on the sides. One of the yahoos — a guy named Clark — stared at me, then asked, “Were you ever in Billings, Montana?” Confused, I replied, “Once.” Clark responded, “I think I’m your father. Because I f**ked a peacock there once!” And then he burst into loud raucous laughter at his own joke. Because Clark was large and mean, I did not say, “So let me get this straight, my mother’s a peacock and my father’s a rude drunk.” I “laughed it off.” Thankfully, his friends were offended and said so. Unfortunately, everywhere I went for the next few hours, there was Clark. Or one of his friends. “Hey, Peacock Lady!” Heavy sigh.

Later, as I reflected on the incident — and the many previous ones like it — I finally realized that there’s nothing I can do about the Clarks of the world. I will more than likely always attract attention, from nice people and from the Clarks. But all in all, my gift/curse has helped way more than it’s hurt. Instead of running away to protect myself, I decided to accept the phenomenon. I’m going to be proud of myself, embrace who I am, and put myself out there. Take in the good and let the insults roll off.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go work on my latest mystery novel. It’s about an abusive drunk bowler who’s found dead. Murdered by having a fist full of peacock feathers stuffed down his throat.

© 2011 Janet Periat

Site maintained by Laideebug Digital
Laideebug Digital