I was at the doctor’s office last week, getting an MRI on my thumb. I had surgery last week–total tear of the thumb joint and just in case I need to thumb a ride, I’ll need that joint. As it turns out, there’s a bunch of activities that the lack of a thumb make difficult. Typing without adding superfluous spaces is one of them. Buttoning jeans, braiding hair, tying a knot, opening wine bottles, cutting apples into slices, and removing earrings for MRIs among them.
The form asked for height and weight. I’m 6’0″. The nurse checked my chart and scanned her eyes over me. 6 feet tall? she asked.
Yep. I smiled.
She pinched her eyes together.
A few minutes later, I lay in the tomb-like machine, listening to the what sounded like a jet engine breaking apart and thought of the nurse’s question. Well, I’m almost 6 feet tall. More like 5’11 and three quarters. But you might as well round up. You have to round one way or the other, so why not up?
It’s kind of a glass half-full or half-empty kind of thing really. I’ve spent far to much energy explaining away my advantages. Sometimes people just want an easy answer. “Where do you live,” they ask. Usually I’ll say, “Crystal.” Or I might add, “in the winter.” Or sometimes I say we live, “in town in the summer and in the mountains in the winter.” That’s when people’s eyes glaze over because really they’re just trying to make conversation.
It’s almost as if I’m trying to downplay my life. Like I’m trying to short myself a few inches. But I don’t want to brag. I don’t always want to tell people that I live on the shores of Lake Washington when it’s sunny and warm and at the base of Crystal Mountain when it’s snowy and cold. I don’t want to see that look of doubt mixed with envy–eyes squinched up, lips pursed.
Because I’ve also lived out of the back of my truck on a food budget of $20 a week. It was easier to round up then because I didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. Now I find myself rounding down because I don’t want anyone to envy me.
I’m not really sure where this blog post is going. My thumb keeps hitting the space bar, causing an overabundance of backspacing, which makes my mind wander. I guess my point is that I’m going to keep rounding up because you never know. Life is short and very precious.
And I really am 6 feet tall.