Speaking in Tongues
March 27, 2013 § 4 Comments
Sometimes, I have to open up a can of whoop-ass, imported straight from E-KY. If you understood that last sentence, you are my people. If not, let me translate: I have a temper that I was raised to cultivate. It hides most of the time, but when it ventures, blinking, into the light, woe betide he who has brought it out. I will unleash a stream of acidic words right out of my face. You may have heard that mountain people sometimes speak in tongues.
This duplicity might seem unlikely when I am at my high pitched voice, open-minded teacher, lover of all humanity best, but it’s true: I can be mean as any snake. At least any snake who can speak. I can almost see some of you shaking your heads in agreement. I’m not saying I’m proud of it, but I recognize it, and everybody needs the element of surprise.
It comes mostly from my mother, but also through my grandmother before her. I was taught not to suffer fools. In basketball, I love nothing better than to talk trash. In my mind, I can back it up. You want to take it outside? As a mother, I have found myself yelling at administrators, coaches; I’m best at defense. Sure, sometimes I regret my words. It’s not the most well behaved monster, but it’s part of the family, and I can’t seem to tell it to go away.
I’m not the only one in my family who got this “gift.” When I was a senior in high school, and the Calculus teacher made me cry (another long story), Leigh Ann, who was my 22 year old guardian at the time, called Ms. Woods up and dressed her down.
So, the other night, at Cole’s track meet, I got pissed. Kids were crossing the track casually during the 3200, waving at friends mid-way across as the two-milers plodded through eight laps, breathing heavily, having to almost dodge the dwadlers. I stood up and let loose in the stands: my mother emerged. “Get out the way! Somebody needs to get those kids off the track! Now!” she yelled, out of my mouth. People turned to look. Jack Henry grabbed the sleeve of my coat. Mom, he said. Sit Down. “No,” Mom said. “Somebody has to tell them.” He slunk down into his book, the way I’m sure I did as a kid, and I calmed down, sat down. I’m glad my mom was around though, glad to know she’s waiting somewhere deep inside me, keeping my can of E-KY whoop-ass warm.