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Entries in Commonplaces (1)


an unforeseen, calamitous blunder

I subscribe to Touchstone magazine, and in their recent issue, they introduced a Commonplaces section, where the editors host a Commonplace Book within the pages of the magazine. I have Commonplace books. I am not always diligent to copy the passages down, and if the book is a digital format, I should be even more diligent.

I am going to use my little blog space occasionally as a Commonplace book. I'm not blogging much else lately, so why not?

A few years ago, I read Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye. I have a love/dislike relationship with Atwood. Some of her books I love, others, I don't. Some I would read more than once (like Cat's Eye) and others I will probably never read again (like The Handmaid's Tale). I love this passage from Cat's Eye, where the narrator, talks about the difference between relationships with her brother and girls.

I know better than to speak to my brother during these times, or to call his or any boy's attention to me. Boys get teased for having younger sisters, or sisters of any kind, or mothers; it's like having new clothes. When he gets anything new my brother dirties it as soon as possible, to avoid having it noticed; and if he has to go anywhere with me and my mother, he walks ahead of us or crosses to the other side of the street. If he's teased about me, he will have to fight some more. For me to contact him, or even to call him by name, would be disloyal. I undertand these things, and do my best.

So I am left to the girls, real girls at last, in the flesh. But I'm not used to girls, or familir with their customs I feel awkward around them, I don't know what to say. I know the unspoken rules of boys, but with the girls I sense that I am always on the verge of some unforeseen, calamitous blunder.

I love that last sentence. That is exactly how I feel when I walk into a room full of women at some ladies' event at my church and have to find a seat.