faux pas

Basement Horseshoe club, 1980 something. I met a famous musician and he’s drunk. Sort of a mean self centred drunk. Three years later my manager puts us in a cab to get to the Junos together and the famous musician introduces himself as though we never met before. I correct him and say we did meet before but you were drunk at the time. I’m not trying to hurt his feelings it is just my DNA. We don’t talk the rest of the ride.
I used to often hitchhike when I was a kid in Winnipeg. Maybe when I was as young as 12 I would do it at the bus stop, usually someone would stop. I remember a young couple impressed that a little squirt was trying to get downtown to the bowling alley, they dropped me at the door. My mission to play Space Invaders in the pinball section of the bowling alley. One day in grade 8 or 9 a classmate who also hitchhiked the city told me about a guy who she called the foot fetisher. She said this guy tried to get people to take their shoes and socks off when he picked them up so that he could squeeze their feet. It went in one ear and out the other. Two or three years later, maybe I was 17 and an old man picked me up while hitchhiking and shortly after we drove a bit he said to me , “are you that guy I picked up before?” I said no, not me, I’ve never seen you. He was in his 60s, bald, heavy coat, sad grin, “Are you sure you aren’t that guy? He could do yoga.” I assured him it wasn’t me. “This guy could sit with his feet on his thighs, can you do that?” Suddenly it hit me: I’m driving with the foot fetisher.
It’s a personality trait I own whether good or bad and it makes me friends or enemies. Often I think I can’t help it, like it’s DNA, proceeding without filtering my memory too much. I said You’re the foot fetisher right? You want me to take off my shoes or my socks right? You want to touch my feet right? Why do you do that? He stopped talking like he didn’t hear me anymore. Let me off when we got to where I wanted and drove away in search of Dr. Scholl.
I passed the remaining exams last week which position me now to complete my final project towards obtaining a Masters degree. The two teachers who tested me first asked a question that implied I had certain view which in truth I do not have. Took all my brain power to be agreeable and stifle my opinion. I felt like if this was a pinball machine and I revealed my perspective that I would be tilting it, game over. Guess if the stakes are high enough even one’s own DNA can sometimes fit on a leash, albeit momentarily.
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