Jan. 14th, 2014

aberwyn: (justice)
All my life I've been "clumsy". That is, I bang into things, trip over things, walk off the edges of sidewalks, and so on and tediously so forth. I was born toward the end of WWII, when all the good doctors were off with the troops. Old doctors came out of retirement to help on the home front. The doctor who delivered me, retired from the Navy many years before, had never delivered a baby before. He applied forceps to my head, squeezed, and dragged me out. My mother was so heavily drugged that she was unconscious at the time. (This happened to vast numbers of mothers and babies -- it's part of the reason the natural childbirth movement became a reality later, the memory of past mistakes at work.)

The result of this forceps pressure is still with me, a dent in the skull, damage to the visual centers of the brain on one side. As a child I had constant trouble with my balance as well as a host of other small problems that I learned how to compensate for. Now, I have almost no depth perception, the final result, the one I've never been able to "learn away". When objects around me are moving, or when I'm moving, I cannot accurately tell how far away or how close, how fast or slow they are moving. Hence the "clumsiness." I use that word in quotes because my mother's favorite nickname for me was "clumsy clot." She refused to believe that I had a real problem. I was just stubborn, lazy, not paying attention, so on and also tediously so forth.

I mention this now because a number of people have asked me why I don't drive. By this point in the screed, dear readers, it should be amply clear. I'd be a dangerous menace on the roads, that's why. I did try to learn how -- twice, in fact. In high school and much later as an adult. Both times the driving instructors refused to teach me after one lesson. The first time, in fact, the instructor insisted on refunding the money my mother had paid for his course. (She saw this as my failure as usual.)

Anyway, what's interesting about all of this is how so many people, friends of mine in fact in this very time of my life, cannot seem to remember or believe me. I do know some people who lie to make excuses for things they don't want to do. I very much wish I was lying about this. I'd be less bruised, for starters. The reason for the lack of belief is, I think, because of my generation. When I was young, so many women still believed that only men should drive, that women weren't "supposed to". I never felt that way. Needless to say, anyone who knows my feminist views would find it laughable to think I did. And yet people still assume I don't drive out of some such belief.

The past is always with us, in so many ways.

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Katharine B Kerr

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