Microwaves and other microaggressions

I’ve had a hard time talking to people this week. That’s not particularly uncommon, but it isn’t particularly welcome either. I saw Dylan Alcott a few hours ago, and that’s not uncommon either because I’ve been watching his ads on TV for the past two weeks, but this was real life Dylan Alcott. At least I think it was.

He looked like Dylan Alcott and he was in a wheelchair, so I assumed it was Dylan Alcott. There are plenty of people in wheelchairs, and I’m sure there are people out there who look like Dylan Alcott, but I doubt there are many people who look like Dylan Alcott AND are in a wheelchair.

So it was Dylan Alcott. I walked towards him but then I thought, is it? What if it isn’t Dylan Alcott? What if it’s just an athletic-looking man in a wheelchair? Would he be offended? Or would he be flattered that I think he looks like a champion wheelchair tennis player, both in looks and mode of transport?

I thought about just saying ‘Congratulations’ to be safe, but if it wasn’t Dylan Alcott then he might’ve thought I thought he was pregnant and despite that not being genetically possible, nobody wants to be mistakenly called pregnant. So I stood behind him, perhaps a little longer than I should’ve – I felt quite tall for once – and then walked away. A few cafés up I heard someone say ‘That’s Dylan Alcott down there.’ I don’t think it was.

On Monday a girl was struggling with a microwave as I was running towards her. To clarify, she was struggling with a cooking appliance rather than a tiny gesture of hello, which would be much less of a struggle than a normal wave. I wasn’t running towards her because she was struggling with a microwave, she just happened to be in front of me with a microwave as I was running for my own personal reasons. It looked to be 800 watts, a Kenwood too.

I asked if she needed a hand and she said yes. At that point, the conversation had been a complete success. But then I thought, should I ask her out? That’s what they’d do in the movies. She seemed nice, and had a New Zealand accent and a New Zealand map tattooed on her neck. I think she was British. The only other thing I knew about her was she’d be enjoying some popcorn soon.

But what if she wasn’t? What if she was going home to eat a meal for one and maybe, just maybe, she had two in her freezer? Was it too aggressive, I wondered, to approach someone when all you have in common is a microwave? Would it morph into a micro-aggression?

I ran away and I felt hollow, I felt lonely, but most of all I felt envy. For the microwave, that is. At least it was radiating something useful.

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