I was never a graceful child. In fact, from as far back into my childhood as I could remember, I had always been the awkward kid who would crab walk and bump into various stationary objects along the way. My body would be full of tiny bruises. Once, when I was about 7, I tried to cross an alley when a bicycle came speeding towards me. I went left, it went left; I went right, it went right; needless to say, I got flattened, and the tread-marks were not pretty I tell ya!
As I grew older, my circumstances underwent little change. I was still awkward and accumulating bruises. The difference between then and now is that people expect me to behave according to the various protocols society set out for us, and any standard deviation would earn me scornful glares from old ladies who are too elitist for their own good.
I would like to think that I had perfected my chopsticks skills at an early age – 5 years old to be exact. My ability to use a knife and fork remained questionable. Getting the food bits onto the fork (or miniature rake as I would like to call it) was hard enough…getting it all the way to my mouth without dropping anything was near impossible. So, it was only a matter of time before my culinary faux pas made its appearance.
I was casually trying to cut a piece off my pork chop when my knife slipped and subsequently caused half the mealies on my plate to jump onto someone else’s, and I watched helplessly as a couple of kernels bounced off of a guy’s arm. To make matters worse, that day I was sitting at “the white people’s table”. Luckily, there were no witnesses apart from myself and the kernel guy who shrugged off the incident.
The next day, I wanted a change of scenery and sat at “the black people’s table” instead as I figured they would be less judgemental. I cleverly decided to use my hands to tackle the deboning of whatever it was they served us. Unfortunately for me, my fingers slipped and the bone (thing) went flying to the middle of the table. Oops. All I remembered from that incident was my friend’s comment, “If bones couldn’t fly before, they could now.”