There’s a disgusting commercial on the television. They keep flashing photographs of some unfortunate woman’s foot – she appears to have a lot of trouble keeping the skin on her heels healthy. They’re yellow and cracked, and frankly, they look diseased. But then, the product the commercial is pushing came into her life and now she has happy feet and she could maybe even be a foot model, and everyone knows that men want to date models, so she’s pretty set. She doesn’t have to worry about anything anymore, unless, of course, she doesn’t want to be a foot model. Not every girl would want to spend the working hours having her feet photographed, day in and day out. Maybe she wanted to become an accountant. She might just really like numbers, you never know, not all girls are bad at math. If she were educated at a Montessori school in her formative years, the educators would have encouraged her to develop her natural skill set – they would have nurtured her true, instinctual interests by removing any road blocks standing between her and her professional destiny. I guess this would mean the teacher would give the kid a calculator or an abacus or something and tell her to go nuts. If the woman really did always want to be a foot model, I suppose the obstacle standing in the way between her and her dream job would be this nauseating foot disease, so the teacher would probably have given her the product in the commercial and maybe shown her how to apply it. “Do it in little circles. No, smaller. Smaller. Smaller.” I don’t really know what I’m talking about; I’m not a teacher.
I went to a Montessori school. The different wooden farm animals outside the door distinguished the classrooms from one another. There was a sheep and a cow and a duck – I’m pretty sure I have a memory of wanting to be in the duck room, and looking forward to the day that would happen. I don’t remember doing any work while I was in the Montessori school. Unless I’ve imagined it, I don’t think I did anything there but peel carrots and oranges. All day long, that’s what I did in school. It makes me wonder what the hell my natural skill set is, if this is what I did while the teachers removed the obstacles that might stand in the way of my professional development. I suppose I was preparing diligently to obtain employment at Jamba Juice – and hey, that job might actually pay me more than what I’m doing now, if I worked my way up to becoming manager. And most people who go to Jamba Juice are in a really good mood because they’re about to get some juice, and everyone likes juice. It’s nice to work in a friendly environment.
My parents took me out of Montessori – or maybe I graduated from Montessori, I don’t remember – and then I went to University Primary School, which was called Uni-Pri. It was the school associated with the University of Illinois, and I’m assuming it was also the school responsible for derailing me from my goals of becoming an orange and carrot peeler. Probably, because my interest in carrots and oranges was discouraged upon leaving Montessori, I repressed this urge to be active in food-related activities. This repression spawned an unconscious obsession with food, which would explain why I began sneaking extra fruit snacks (it’s no coincidence I preferred the artificial orange flavor) when my parents weren’t looking, and it would also explain why I’m unable to go more than five minutes without my brain screaming to me about food food food FOOD FOOD FOOD! I mean, what the hell do you people who don’t think about food think about? Please tell me, maybe I can train myself to be like you. I’m so tired of thinking about food, and really, I’m tired of thinking about most of the crap I think about. Why does my hand feel dirty? I was petting the cat. Is the cat dirty? Cats clean themselves, so you’re not supposed to wash them. But they clean themselves with their fucking tongues, and they stick their tongues in their assholes. Is there cat shit on my hand? Should I go buy some food? No one is looking, it’s okay, I can have more food. You can confess to facebook tomorrow if you feel guilty. Am I special? Do people think I’m special?
Meanwhile, as I was damaging my psyche with this repression, I was being changed. Uni-Pri, the school I actually remember quite fondly, was offering me up as a participant in psychological studies measuring child development and the like. I didn’t know about this until I took a class in cognitive development, and we watched a video about object permanence. Object permanence is a concept children achieve at some early age – I’d tell you which age, but I can’t remember because it’s not that important to me. If I ever get pregnant, I’m sure I’ll suddenly care, and then I’ll think it’s the most important information in the world and I won’t believe that some people out there don’t care! What it is, is when a kid realizes that just because he can’t see an object, doesn’t mean it ceases to exist. So if you show him a toy, and he’s all happy, then you hide the toy, a child who has achieved object permanence will cry and reach for the hidden toy and etcetera, while a child who has not achieved object permanence will be all “woah, that thing is just fucking gone now, it’s just gone.” It’s easy to fool kids because their brains aren’t fully developed yet. They can’t be, otherwise they’d be so big that they’d destroy a woman’s vagina on their way out. In any event, I was enrolled in a cognitive development class, and we watched a video about object permanence, and, to my surprise, I was in that video. “Lenore, can you find the Snoopie doll?” they were asking me, and there I was, in a really cute little dress, representing, thank god, the kid who had achieved object permanence. How humiliating it would have been to be the slow kid in the educational video. “Did you ever involve me in any psychological studies?” I asked my father, and he said: “I don’t know.” It’s okay with me, really. It’s not like it’s upsetting – all they were doing was having me locate a stupid doll.
But I do wonder if maybe this is why I ended up getting my doctorate in psychology. Because at the same time I was being deterred from developing and nurturing my natural skill set of peeling oranges and carrots, I was compelled to take part in psychological studies. I was young, my brain wasn’t fully developed – it couldn’t have been difficult to confuse me and replace “carrot peeling” with “psychology.” I really don’t know what I’m talking about. What the hell am I doing? It’s 2:10 AM between Friday and Saturday and I’m just sitting around. I haven’t even read a book or anything tonight, I’ve just been sitting here, and my neighbor is serenading me with his loud burping. I don’t know why he isn’t asleep. I can see a number of lights on and televisions flickering in the neighborhood. The middle of the night used to be so peaceful and quiet – it used to be my time, this was my fucking time, and now everyone’s wide awake, burping out of their windows at me. I should really get a boyfriend or something, this is getting really fucking boring. I guess I can read a book and stop all this complaining, do something proactive about my lassitude – I mean, I’m a doctor of psychology for crying out loud, but Jesus Christ, I just looked up and that diseased foot commercial is on again. It must be cheap to buy air time in the middle of the night between a Friday and a Saturday, and those foot people are smart, because the only people who would see it are the other slobs who didn’t do anything at all other than sit around in their pajamas from the night before, and those are the people who probably get skin diseases on their feet. I hope I don’t get one, but hey, at least now I know what number to call if I do.