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.
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!”).
Are all human behaviors now acceptable in public spaces?
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