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w May 04, 2003

Reality Bites

Bean and I were at the bookstore at Stanford Shopping Center today, and as she was in her stroller and kicking her weeny little Converse All-Stars, people naturally directed their attention downwards. For the most part, all she got were smiles and "look at the little Chucks!!"...but then I heard, "Have you gotten your baby's eyes checked?".


I'm going to pat myself on the back just this once and let everyone know that I answered politely but firmly (and quickly), "Yes, we have. One of her eyes is artificial". Then I directed my attention to the cookbooks. What surprised me the most, I have to admit, was that this comment came from an older man, probably well into his sixties if not seventies; he seemed a little odd anyway, but it was a little weird to hear this from, well, a guy. I realize this is terribly sexist, but I'm so much more used to older women making comments (usually positive, though, I have to say) that I was seriously taken aback. He also said something to the effect of "well, I figured it was better to just say something". Yeah, that's right, the world is so much better off when we all just run our mouths. Sigh. I think I did respond with "Yes, it is so much better when people say things rather than just staring". Well, I guess to some degree it is, but I intended the comment to be more sarcastic than it probably deserved to be.

At any rate, I didn't know quite how to feel afterwards. I wasn't, oddly enough, terribly sad or angry. Was it resignation? Acceptance? Maybe a combination thereof? It did, however, bring home the realization that this is our reality. It might, in fact, bite, but I guess I should consider myself fortunate that we got a 13-month reprieve before hearing anything. Well, hearing anything related to her eyes. We get a lot of "that's the smallest baby I've ever seen! Oh my god, how premature was she?" Etc.

In a semi-related topic, and because, you know, I feel like running my mouth---why the hell not!---I was watching this stupid documentary-style show on the Discovery Channel or one of those pseudo-intellectual stations, and it happened to be about cosmetic surgery. Usually, I would just get grossed out and laugh at it all, but for some reason, I got really cheesed off this time. I think it was the feeling that, my god, people choose to put themselves under general anesthesia and have surgeons cut into them! And then they're "fixed".

Fixed. I realize it's irrational of me to get angry at someone because they want bigger breasts or no lines down the side of their nose, but we don't have that option. There is no surgery to give Bean eyesight. There is nothing. All the money in the world can't give her that. I just hope the next stupid comment I have to hear doesn't come from someone who has chosen to go under the knife...reality is going to bite back, and hard.

by Heather Hoffman at 4:01 PM