Here’s a passage from later in the book – Weird Thing #10. At the time I was unaware, as are most people, that having had a Near Death Experience often entails after-effects of a psychic nature. I didn’t learn this until I started attending a NDE group (Seattle IANDS). So when this happened, I could only wonder what the heck was up with me….
WEIRD THING #10
In the fall of 2004, I landed my dream job directing the English Department Writing Center at the University of Washington. If I thought you were interested, I’d write pages on the joys of working with brilliant, gifted students with a natural philanthropic bent toward their peers and the world in general – but I doubt you are. Briefly, I got to choose my tutoring staff based on writing samples and the capacity for empathy I detected in interviews, then teach them via my own class to conduct writing center work, and finally mentor them for years as they tutored in the center. I learned so much from these students, who wanted to be of service to others, even though their lives didn’t depend on it. I was “out” in the Writing Center as both an alcoholic and former lesbian, and from my desk I offered an “ask me anything” service something like Lucy’s psychiatry in Peanuts. They claim, to this day, to have learned as much from me as I did from them.
So… more about overcoming fear and sickness, but first, here comes a Writing Center Weird Thing.
Before I developed the online sign-up system, students used stop by in person to reserve tutoring appointments, which we scheduled on an ordinary clipboard. One day a girl came in requesting an appointment.
“Your name?” I asked, hovering my pen over the time slot.
“Wendy…” she said, and then paused for me to write it.
I wanted to write ‘Wendy,’ except something jammed up in my brain. I felt her waiting, but for the life of me, I couldn’t remember how to make a ‘W’! I tried, and pushed, but nothing came out. I did know how to make an ‘L,’ however, because my name began with that, so I just went ahead and wrote, ‘Lee.’
The girl pulled back a bit. In an alarmed voice she demanded: “How did you do that?!”
“Oops!” I said, reflexively crossing it out. “I don’t know why I wrote that!”
“No! That’s my last name,” said the girl, her voice flat, “but I hadn’t said it yet.” She stared at me accusingly.
I felt embarrassed, confused. “I’m sorry!” was all I could think to say. “Lucky guess!” My primary feeling was not amazement that I’d just read this girl’s thoughts, but embarrassment that I’d been caught doing so.
She pointed insistently at the crossed out ‘Lee.’ “That’s how you spell it, too, with double E. I’ve never been here in my life! How do you know my name?!”
“I don’t know…. I couldn’t think how to make an ‘W,’” I faltered, now writing ‘Wendy’ after a comma and tracing over the crossed out letters, “so I just wrote ‘Lee’ instead.” I laughed uneasily as if to say, ‘you know how it is!’ and imagined if I could just get her appointment set, she’d let it go.
“That makes no sense!” She stared at me, irate, as though I took her for a fool. I suppose she was thinking I’d been spying on her somehow.
“I’m sorry! My mind just must have just picked it up because you were about to say it!”
That answer – the truth – did not satisfy Wendy Lee. She left visibly angry. I told some of the tutors what had just happened and showed them the clipboard, but we could only laugh and shake our heads at my rude telepathy. When Wendy came in for her appointment a few days later, she stared at me across the room as though I were either a witch or a spy. I felt amused that someone could not accept a simple case of telepathy, though, at Wendy’s age, I’d have been equally insistent that I must be hiding some logical explanation.
Though I still had no idea why so many Weird Things happened to me, I was beginning to feel comfortable with the fact that they regularly did. It was just my lot.
Book available at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0093NPHYO