Shoulder Shrugger

English Ivy

 

My mom says she wants to come back in her next life as a shoulder shrugger. The idea has its merits. Wouldn’t it be lovely to see a note come home from school with apostrophes in the plurals, the word “you’re” spelled “your,” exclamation marks at the end of every sentence!…and shrug my shoulders?

 

Or get mowed down in the produce aisle by a plasticized suburban mommy robot –dressed to the nines, obviously up since 4:30 am working out/showering/blow-drying/waxing/lasering/spackling– teetering around the grocery store on a Wednesday morning in $400.00 shoes, cooing to her badly behaved children, chewing gum loudly and with her mouth wide open– and shrug my shoulders?

 

Or listen to the strivers who don’t like to cook tell me how they spent their children’s college fund on a state-of-the-art, custom-designed, professional chef’s dream kitchen with a steam-injected oven, temperature-controlled wine storage, and a hood that looks like architectural salvage from the Death Star…and shrug my shoulders?

 

Wouldn’t it feel better to let the thoughtless, selfish, hypocritical, know-it-all, faux-philosophical, pseudo-spiritual jerks of the world just pass through my life and shrug my shoulders?

 

Or shrug my shoulders at passive aggression, rational responses to emotional situations, Center of the Universe Syndrome, and those traitorous bitches who worship men and castigate women?

 

Yes, that would probably feel better.

 

Wouldn’t it feel better to let the thoughtless, selfish, hypocritical, know-it-all, faux-philosophical, pseudo-spiritual jerks of the world just pass through my life and shrug my shoulders? Shrug my shoulders at speeding tickets, Newt Gingrich, and canned cranberries? Shrug my shoulders at the decline of common courtesy? At imitation vanilla?

 

What if I just shrugged my shoulders every time I felt thrown away or taken for granted or misunderstood?

 

I do need to shrug my shoulders at all the maidenhair ferns I have murdered over the years; I don’t think ANYONE can keep those things alive outside of a greenhouse.

 

I saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (the hard-core Swedish version) without having read the book first and I will never ever ever get those rape scenes out of my mind. What if I could shrug my shoulders at images like that?

 

This life matters to me  –all of it. Everything I taste and everyone I meet and everything I see and hear and experience matters to me.

 

Life would be easier, I’m sure, but I can’t shrug my shoulders. I don’t want to– even if getting upset or irritated makes me look hypersensitive or angry or intolerant, which isn’t fair, which bothers me too.

 

This life matters to me  –all of it. Everything I taste and everyone I meet and everything I see and hear and experience matters to me. I’m an easy target for hyper-rational, dispassionate types; I’m an easy target for people who still care about being cool; I’m an easy target for those who know how to detach, because I don’t. I engage every time.

 

I actually love that quality in myself –it’s the reason my life is so full of beauty and meaning and love. It comes with a price: looking foolish, feeling exposed and vulnerable. But I’m used to that. I can shrug my shoulders at that.

 

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