We all suffer from the coming and going of superstitious thoughts.
When I was small, manhole covers were off limit. Don’t step on it! I still prefer not to step on them today, and if I must–because no one in their right mind who just turned 30 wants to be seen skipping and hopping on the street for no apparent reason–I will cross my fingers, which for some reason cancels the negative effects.
Cracks we off limits, black cats…let’s not even go there, and god forbid someone stepped over you because you were doomed to remain undeveloped, short, a kid’s measurements for life. Sometimes there was so much stepping over then stepping back, then stepping some more to mess with the unfortunate kid that no one would remember if the kid in question was safe or not and the only thing left to do was to wait for the years to pass and wait for nature to take its course.
Somewhere down the line, I suspect around the rebel years, I decided to go against the embedded ritual of unnatural fear. The black cat became lucky, the number 13 became lucky, yes, I still feel weird about stepping on manhole covers, but overall I am happier.
As an immigrant, I encountered a similar line-up of preconceived barriers. I was new, I was different, I stood out. But I decided to switch it up and enter the ranks. I embraced the accent and the vampire jokes and I chose to fit in.
–inspired by an eve at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe