30 New Things: Ate Lunch with a Down's Syndrome Guy
This may not sound notable, but for me, it is. For as long as I've been able to tell the difference between crazy and sane, I've been afraid of mentally unstable people. I call them "wobbly" and this fear extends to old people who are possibly senile, retarded people, high-strung people who I think might snap any second and some extroverts. I can't think of any particular personal experience that led to this fear*, but I have a typical physical fear reaction when I spot one. I know this makes me shallow, callous and a terrible person, but the potential for unpredictable behavior sets me on edge. So, it is quite notable that today I shared my lunch table with a guy with Down's Syndrome. He seemed to be a happy guy, eager to talk, but he also banged on the table and kept saying something that sounded like "pontoon." I made some awkward conversation, finished my sandwich and left without lingering. I felt proud of my accomplishment, and a bit lucky, like I had faced danger and walked away unscathed.
*I can, however, think of an example that reinforced this fear, which was already entrenched when this happened. In cooking school, I identified a wobbly classmate early on (Yellow Sugar, for those who remember those days). I was usually on guard around him, but in a busy kitchen it's difficult to keep your eye on someone. One busy day during dinner service, I was hurrying from the sink to my work station, following Yellow Sugar, when he suddenly whirled around and jabbed a knife at my eye, for no other reason than he thought it might be fun. I narrowly avoided being blinded; it was really close. That's the sort of irrational and erratic behavior that puts the fear in me.
So, here's the list so far:
1. Roast a duck
2. Learn to make glass beads
3. Swim in an underground river
5. Touch a sea turtle
6. Make a chocolate meringue pie
7. Eat collard greens
8. Cirque du Soleil: Ka
9. Made ice cream
10. Ate Lunch with a Down's Syndrome Guy
Getting to Know All About You: What's your strangest fear?
Note: I edited this post because it came out too mean as originally posted.