Maybe it’s a glass box, some kind of thick aquarium-y barrier designed to keep sharks from eating snot-nosed brats who richly deserve digestive absorption. Or scratched-up polymer like a check-casher’s window, two layers of don’t-shoot-me-I-just-want-thirty-percen
Inside the box there’s only the faintest communication. Scratches at the cardboard. Taps on the plastic. Sign language through the glass, only one of us speaks ASL and one of us speaks British. Semaphore, except all we have are hors d’oeuvres flags (‘tartare’ or ‘Casu Marzu’ or ‘sweetbreads’).
You get it.
But there’s something I have to say. And I don’t know just how this thing has become a mountain, how every day of silence adds a stone, as it's become increasingly clear, this thing will not clear up on its own.
Blah blah blah box metaphor.
There’s only so many ways a writer can share. Fiction, in which we pretend that people other than ourselves have problems and some of those problems have solutions and looking at the ones that don’t is still entertaining. Nonfiction, in which we pretend to have distance, perspective, and possibly even closure. (Closure! I have an essay’s worth of closure! And then the story continued and it wasn’t finished any more.) Poetry, in which we pretend that other people are interested in our problems, and they clap politely, or if they are feeling ironic, snap their fingers like beatniks, like Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face, after she says to a number of people that she’s not pretty. With a straight face. For thirty minutes of screen time. (Fiction.)
I’m okay with that. For example, I say, the fastest way to change a tire is to stand by the wheel, holding the lug wrench by the wrong end. Then someone will pull over and change it for you, and all it costs is the appropriate equivalent of ‘My hero!’
I have done that.
More than once.
And maybe bitch bitch white bitch privilege bitch bitch, but let’s face it, pretty’s not fixing this. Pretty’s not getting me out of the box. Or even giving me better hors d’oeuvres flags (‘fig jam’). Pretty’s no shield against the boomerang, the razor-sharp ninja star, the Viking axe bouncing back at me off the plastic, ricochet-ricochet-ricochet-skull.
The plastic cutting me off from you. The box protecting you from the axe. Because that’s the problem. No matter how kind or well-meaning or even true the thing is, the thing is still an axe. And because I am a coward, I would rather sit in a box, with an axe, than throw the axe at you.
This is where we leave me.
In a box.
With a labored metaphor.
With an axe.
Whipchick thinks you should totally look up Casu Marzu. But not while eating.