Wednesday, November 13, 2013

how things sometimes go

A recent part of my life was spent manning, so to speak, the front desk at the Eastman House. It is a museum. It is also a research institution, a graduate school, a preservation facility, an archive, a library. One afternoon, a man came in and asked to see one of the employees. I gave a call, but the person was not in. I offered to let the visitor leave a message on this person's voicemail. "No need, we're friends, I'll just call him later," the man said.

With this our interaction should have been over. The man lingered, however. "What is that mark on your neck?" he asked, suddenly slightly belligerent.

"I play viola and violin. It's from my instruments."

"Oh, yeah?"

I looked down at my things. We are done here, I was signaling. The front desk is a small confined area -- there's really nowhere to go.

"It looks like something else."

I gave no response. There was no response to give.

My silence seemed to enrage him. "I mean, what if you want to get a job? WHO is going to HIRE you with that MARK on your NECK?"

Quietly but firmly: "Someone I want to work for."

The man practically foamed at the mouth. He got up very close to the desk, intimidatingly close, and, tripping over his words, half-screamed at me: "You're missing my point! You don't understand! No one will hire you, they'll think..."

I reached for the phone. The security guard standing nearby was doing nothing, so I figured I'd better take things into my own hands if this turned ugly, which it certainly seemed to be on the verge of doing. Luckily, he backed away. "In my country, you would be shot," he shot at me, and backed towards the door, still glaring at me.

Sometimes we enrage people simply by being.


  1. WOW, you created a beautiful little drawing after such a wicked interaction. You are amazing!

  2. oh Marla, I think right after this incident I went home and ate ice cream. But when this story popped up in my mind again, for some reason so did this drawing. So I put them up together...