elliot? it's me, e.t.


i have been called an empathic genius more than once. this isn't much of a compliment, as this type of genius has not afforded me many advancements in life. mostly it causes me to faint when those closest to me are in physical danger or pain.  one might say that i am too sensitive. perhaps it is this corner of my chemistry that causes me to cry at every movie i see, and to be significantly moved by tiny moments throughout the day. i have a scar on my bottom lip from collapsing onto the floor in a packed crowd that i felt a profound concern for. before drifting into the black i remember thinking that the small children and my best friends could be in danger if there were an emergency.

i believe it is my condition that causes me to make elaborate excuses for the bad behavior of others. as a result, i tend to imagine a complex narrative as to why people act in the ways that they do.

i'd like to think that the lion share of this condition can get most usefully applied to my writing.

years ago someone made a ridiculous u-turn right into the front end of my car. thus ensued a full range of annoyances. my car, con-caved, was inoperable. this went on for an extended period of time while i waited for my, drug-dealing-posing-as-car-insurance-company-out-of-some-dusty-texan-cubicle, to reimburse me for damages and i could have my car fixed.

at the time i patiently waited for my insurance agent to answer, let alone, return my calls. i would leave detailed messages for her hoping that my pleasantries and tone would warrant her attention and the matter of my lack of transportation would be expeditiously addressed. i pandered to every shingle of etiquette i knew. i would call and wait for her reply. to no avail.

as time went on i began to imagine that she had been eight plus months pregnant at the time of my accident and had since gone on maternity leave and my silly claim had just gotten lost in the shuffle. i imagined that she was at home in the midst of sleepless nights and a sense of overwhelming completeness while basking in the glow of new mommy love. i thought it was only fair to give it just a little longer as i could only imagine how exhausting things got when she was trying to train her temporary replacement.

after all, taking the train to the bus wasn't that bad, and i liked the ten block walk--it gave me time to people watch and let my mind wander.

one day after missing the train, it finally occurred to me that my insurance agent sucked at her job. while her alleged baby was definitely not sleeping through the night yet, a sense of entitlement came over me. my car needed to get fixed. i called the insurance company and asked to speak with the manager. this experience would only confirm my subsequent theory that my so-called car insurance company at the time was probably some drug smuggling ring and i was one of five customers that kept them clean on the books.

my agent seemed to either no longer exist or to have been scandalized into rehab or something of equal or higher intrigue. it was complicated. i was confused. they sent an appraiser out the next day that looked at my car and doubled the quote the body shop had made and cut me a check right there.

in retrospect i liked the idea of my agent not being able to get to the phone because she was just overcome with gratitude for being able to participate in the miracle of life. the truth, however, whatever it was, may have been better. my futile act of sympathy was lost on my insurance claim and thank god my penchant for excessive empathy didn't knock the wind out of me. and more importantly, thank god i never got a chance to know my insurance agent, i could have ended up with a concussion.

i am a writer because i will fill in the blanks wherever they are.