Wednesday, April 07, 2004

The second seder last night reminded me of another story, when i was about fourteen.

You know what it's like at that age: all grown ups look the same. So one day. my Mum asked me what I thought of M, a recently divorced male friend of my parents, probably at that time in his early forties. I thought nothing; he was someone's Dad. My mum and her neighbour were obviously thinking of "setting him up" with someone, now he was single, and they wanted to know what I thought. I racked my brains.

Eventually, I came up with something. "Both his arms are the same length." I thought this specifically because my best friend A was obsessed with a guy whose arms weren't the same length, and people often remarked on it. My Mum laughed. She told her neighbour, and she laughed. I thought nothing of it. I realised it was a little: cutting (early practice), and asked them not to say anything to anyone.

Cut to the seder. Maybe three, four months later. Uncle M is sitting two seats away from me, my sister is sitting between us. After all the ritual part is over, and we're starting the meal, uncle M asks me to pass the salt. I'm just reaching for it when I feel a hand tapping my shoulder. I look round - M has leaned back on his chair like he's fourteen, and stretched his arm round my sister, to tap me.

He mouths/whispers, extrememly clearly, "at least both my arms are the same length." I am so freaked out I think I have imagined it, but he smiles at me, wryly, knowingly. I grab my Mum and run into the kitchen. We concur there's nothing we can do.

Uncle M's remarried now, has been for years - so my remarks didn't affect his market value, clearly - but I always feel slightly uncomfortable whenever I run into him.

The lesson? Never gossip, people. Although, not sure what the modern weblog equivalent of that is... Never write anything you don't want the people you write about - if you do - to read. Although, personally, I always struggle with who the stories belong to... Open source, moi?

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