I have this itch; an itch that develops into a unsightly raised rash which of course I scratch. And scratch. And claw at to relieve the sporadic irritation. It didn't, it doesn't, but it sure feels good, as does everything you're told NOT to do.
itch can be bothersome, but the randomness of its location is more
so. A few years ago it was the inside of my right calf, now it's my
right elbow. It relocates yet leaves no trace: no scar, no mark of
its occupancy, as if it were a hotel guest who enjoys making their
presence felt during their stay, then departs without a goodbye or
thank you, and yet leaves the room scrupulously neat with a nominal
tip for housekeeping.
itch, like my analogy to the hotel guest, is paradoxical. Its whims
are met, it calms, it begins to clear, then acts up or disappears. I
never know if it will completely go or come back. The nature of its
repeat residence is deeply mystifying, but grown used to its
unpredictability I only give it half of the attention it deserves. I
placate it with nonchalance and accept its idiomaticness, for to do
otherwise would be hypocritical when self-expression is a principle I
honour. My body should be permitted to exercise that right in a
physical language, and though I may not understand it, the right
shouldn't be suppressed or denied.
there is a message is clear, however the language is foreign and of
such complexity that it cannot be translated easily into English, nor
can I imagine into any other. It would take years of applied study. A
study I have begun but not, so far, got beyond the preschool grade,
which is not a surprise seeing as I still struggle to get by with my
GCSE German and French. And that's with the assistance of
dictionaries and phrase books.
this, I'm completely in the dark. I can't make a lucky guess or fake
my comprehension because the body wouldn't for one minute be fooled.
To have successfully interpreted the physical symptom I'd have to
have changed the pattern that caused it; when you don't the symptom
persists: nags or worsens over time.
obviously with my ineptitude for languages I fall into that
itch and the subsequent rash have become my familiars, of the sort
that you think almost fondly of when they're off the scene, yet when
in their company long to be rid of, and who if they realise they're
being provoking only needle more. You, in turn, or I, in this
instance, attempt to control, sometimes barely, your diminishing
hospitable temper. As mentioned I have on more than one occasion
failed in this regard, and not learned that in permitting even a
single scratch I inflame the situation and confirm my compliance.
itch then has the upper hand as if it belongs to an applauding
audience member who continues to clap long after everyone else has
stopped and so the cast is held in a protracted pause. The action
then as with this is arrogant and intentional, particularly as the
applauding individual is clearly visible to those around him, but
indistinguishable from the stage.
bringing together of hands, a pair or a united affair, in either
appropriate or inappropriate places petitions the actors to delay, to
play, or to take repeated bows and give encores until the thunderous
applause shows signs of abating. Which it usually does when the cast
wearily departs the stage and the curtain falls. Then a hush
descends...will they come out again? No, the lights have gone up. The
murmur rises as persons vacate their seats and shuffle to their
That's what it amounts to, as although the execution might seem
unequal the balance of power can and does shift. Sometimes with ease,
sometimes with extreme difficulty as in an unresolvable conflict. The
audience and the theatre cast can afford to make concessions, because
both roles, for the most part, are scripted, whereas the itch and the
individual are forever engaged in an improvised play with an
Picture credit: Applause, Erte