Saturday, April 14, 2012

Getting down to a brass tack.



As I think of how to start, I rock back and forth--- more and more with increasing vigor as if the rocking will answer the question of how to start this blog entry if I just keep at it long enough. I’m so anticipating the work of the writing it's like the anticipation itself spurs me to rock. I don’t rock when I type. But immediately after completing that previous sentence, for instance, I started rocking again because I stopped the typing to search in my mind for where to go next with this entry---that made me rock. I didn’t start deliberately. I couldn’t help it.  The rocking doesn’t hurt---it actually makes me feel regular.  If I didn’t rock, I imagine I’d feel like a man in a strait jacket.


Whatever the rules and patterns of rocking are, I don't always do it. I don’t rock when I’m getting a haircut. I may rock in the barber’s chair after first sitting down but when the haircut begins, I’m like a sphinx.  If I cross my arms and lean back in my chair and perform a deep mental penetration, I get so absorbed I stop rocking.

Few seem to notice as I rock. I remember when a little boy obviously did. It seemed he couldn’t stop staring as I churned away at it in a crowded Starbucks in Burlingame. Sometimes the rocking ebbs and melts away as if I don’t have the condition that causes it.  Sometimes it speeds to banshee proportions as a coping mechanism that allows me to handle the pure thrill of living.  When a woman who I met on a dating site joined with me for coffee to talk in person for the first time, the conversation was so engaging I rocked very little.  When I was being interviewed for a security officer position, I rocked at medium mode and got hired anyway. My new employer hadn't noticed, it seemed to me.  So for the next year I rocked back and forth in a chair guarding the railroad tracks in the City of Palo Alto--- helping to guard against a rash of suicides.

Since I started rocking, about four years ago, very few people have asked why I do it. I don’t explain unless somebody asks, and those who’ve asked I could tell wanted to know for informational reasons.  This condition and the way people almost completely ignore it leaves me relieved and somewhat taken aback. These symptoms in times past or in places different might have very well made me a social outcast. I don't feel like a social outcast at all--- but sometimes, if I'm not mistaken, I get an inkling sense I've been judged not quite up to par.
 
The only time this rare condition seemed to put anybody off was at church. I was sitting in a pew in the middle of church rocking back and forth as per usual during Catholic mass. Later, when time came to offer the peace of Christ, I extended my hand but noticed hesitation and reluctance from two older women behind me. After that I started sitting in the very last pew in church on Sundays. That’s when the ushers started asking me to help collect the offerings. I'm glad to be of service.