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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thumb Sucker

This confession may strike you as odd, but we’ve been together for so long now that I feel you need to know.

I sucked my thumb until I was 12.

What can I tell you about this? We made something like 16 different moves before I was 16, and so I may have been a little insecure as a child. My thumb-sucking was a solitary comfort, restricted to the hour after school, in a particular arm chair, and while I watched Gilligan’s Island only. I may have been unsure of my place in the world, but I certainly knew that my little secret was not what I wanted to be known by. My thumb-sucking was never a public thing.

And then one day, the thumb-sucking was no longer satisfying. I remember it distinctly: it no longer felt “right”, and I stopped, just like that.

Why did I just tell you all this? Because there’s a woman, somewhere between 18 and 22 years old, I’d say, on the afternoon bus; and she sucks her thumb.

Yes, really.

Where does one look, when you’re sitting at the back of the bus, seats facing each other, when the woman across from you is sucking her thumb? Yesterday was not the first time I’d seen her, but it was the first time we’d faced each other like that. It’s hard to avert your eyes for long. Indeed, my inadvertent glances, directly in front of me and in a public place, were met with hostility.

How dare I notice what was less than five feet in front of me?!

I’m not really sure what I have to say about this other than needing help with confusion and even concern regarding what I perceive to be the gradual loss of boundaries in society. It’s bad enough that, through the magic of cell phones, we are now witnesses to phone calls best made in private (overheard last Friday: “Well, it’s gonna burn until you finish the drugs! What? Him? Uh-uhhhh, girl! No, I wouldn’t tell him!”).

But thumb-sucking?

Are all human behaviors now acceptable in public spaces?


Chriz said...

she sucks her thumb at 22? thats hahaha.. i used to wet my bed till i was 12

Pearl said...

Hey, Chriz.
Amazing isn't it? (My brother and sister both did the same as you, but don't tell them I told you!)

•♥•♥[V]♥•♥• said...

i don't even remember sucking my thumb..eh??
lost memories i think..

Pearl said...

Perhaps you never did. Perhaps you were a lovely, well-adjusted child?
It's possible!

Eric S. said...

People seem to be lowering the standards of what is acceptable in public. I don't think its for the better either. I have heard phone conversations in restaurants, that would qualify as X rated. I bet they wouldn't dream of talking on their phone that way at their mothers house. But in public, and to expect people to just tune out. I think it comes down to selfishness.

Sucking her thumb though, that's a little ODD. LOL

Thanks for your visit.

Lilly's Life said...

Oh that really is a little odd Pearl. I sucked my two fingers on my right hand until I was 10 - yes I admit it. But for her to do that in public means - who knows what it means. But she needs some therapy I think or a lolly pop!

Pearl said...

Hi, Eric.
Public standards of decency certainly do seem to be dropping all the time, don't they? Can't wait to see what happens next.

Hi, Lilly.
Odd is right, first that she was "ok" with doing it in public and second that she gave me such dirty looks for looking at her!

Aleta said...

Yikes ~ hope she washed her hands and didn't touch anything on the way in or out of the public place.

And about the phone conversation ~ people really are strange. They'll even raise their voices on the cell phone when it's a conversation you would think would be private. I don't talk much on my cell. Greg says it's a paperweight in my purse, but he and my parents are the only ones who call and even that is rare. (More used for emergencies, should there be one)

Don't remember sucking my thumb, but I used to have to twist my hair in my fingers to fall asleep and I still do that to this day if there's something that's on my mind a lot.

Pearl said...

Hi, Aleta.
She didn't strike me as the "washing hands" type, honestly...

Anonymous said...

hahaha entertaining
love it
thum sucking until 4
wet my bed 9
from then on
who knows....

Kudos to your blog

Heather Cadorette said...

I teach high school in rural-ish Virginia and every year I have at least 1 young lady between the ages of 16-19 that will regularly suck her thumb in class. DO NOT comment on the thumb sucking!!!!!!! This is an excellent way to be cussed at!! I have been told that I am an old bitch and that I need to mind my own business when I asked a young lady to please remove her thumb from her mouth while in the laboratory. How dare I call attention to her??!! Her mother took her side in this disagreement too and I was reprimanded. I just wanted her to be safe in lab and to not be a social pariah, but no good deed goes unpunished right?