The length of Thanksgiving break is the one thing that makes me miss high school; instead of getting a full week off, we just get Thursday and Friday. But that was lightened by the fact that I had visitors come through on Tuesday; my mom and grandmother were driving back to Shreveport from a vacation in Destin, so they stayed the night here.
My grandmother used to live in New Orleans until after Katrina, when she moved to Atlanta, closer to my aunt, uncle, and cousins, so I don’t get to see her as much as I used to. I told her I was going to show her around campus, show her my room, the sorority lodges, etc., and she seemed excited about it. So we start out from my residence hall, and within thirty seconds of being outside, we entered into what I like to call “the honesty zone.”
Now, the honesty zone is a magical dimension where people get an unexpected feeling of empowerment that leads them to say inappropriately honest things without any recognizable thought towards the consequences of their words. Some people may find that their friends, coworkers, or neighbors are often frequenters of the honesty zone, but I have found that the largest demographic is actually the elderly. I’m not sure if this is because of actual medical problems related to aging, or if it’s just because they know they are old and are tired of holding in all the thoughts that they have kept quiet their entire lives, or a combination of both. Regardless, the zone is real, and we were in it.
We walked out of my residence hall and got right behind another student who was walking to class. We were talking about something, and out of the blue, my grandma piped up, “Look at the way he’s walking! Oh, that’s so… weird! So funny.” My mom and I were a little shocked (maybe we shouldn’t have been..) and pointed out that we were not far behind the guy at all and that he could probably hear us. Her response was not a change of volume or subject, but instead she did her own interpretation of the poor guy’s walk (which was actually not weird, or different from my own, at all), as if my mom and I were not watching it closely enough to realize its hilarity. Needless to say…. I was embarrassed.
Unfortunately, this was not the only incident where the zone came out of nowhere. My grandma, upon seeing some old friends for the first time in a couple of years, immediately greeted one of them with a “Hello!” and an “Oh, you’ve put on some weight!” It was not a question, but a definite declarative statement. There were other instances, but I won’t continue to tell the tales of the honesty zone’s potency. I think you get the idea.
We still had a marvelous Thanksgiving, of course. It was great to see family and friends after being at school for the semester, and also to gorge myself on home-cooked food for four days straight. Despite being exposed to some strong opinions along the way, it made me ready for a long break at home for the Christmas holidays. Honestly.