Gyasi Ross: The heavy breathing Indian woman

"Picture it, Sicily (ok, ok, “the Rez”) 2007: I sat in on a conference call – speakerphone on – slipping between a) playing Solitaire and b) falling asleep (I promise I don’t usually fall asleep or play solitaire on conference calls. This one was an exception: It was particularly boring. In fact, I may have actually been absent for about 63 percent of that particular call). It was one of those silly little conference calls that everybody’s been on – y’know, the ones where some Fancy Skins unnecessarily drop other Fancy Skins’ names and keeps on saying “in terms of” and “promulgate.”

On this conference call, there was a woman who just kept on talking. Wow! – I once watched “The Fountainhead,” where Gary Cooper made a six minute speech – that’s kind of how this lady talked. Incredible. And now I may be alone in this, but when I talk to someone on the phone and I’ve never met them, I start to imagine the way the person on the other end looks. Sometimes, they’re hot. Sometimes, they’re not.

She wasn’t. At least not in my mind.

I envisioned this particular woman as a short Skin lady who liked smoking her Benson & Hedges and wearing Aquanet bangs with Photochromic tint glasses. The reason that I imagined her as a heavy smoker, by the way, was because of the way she mouth-breathed – DEEPLY! In fact, it was her rhythmic, deep, heavy breathing that almost made me fall fast asleep. Still, I found it disturbingly soothing. And although I have no such authority to give people Skin names, I am the boss at my phone – so I unofficially gave her the Skin name “Heavy Breathing Woman.”

Now, Heavy Breathing Woman was on the verge of putting me to sleep. However, just as I was about to pass out, “The Moment” happened – that is, the moment that let me know that the people who speak for Skins don’t necessarily know that much about Skins; even if they are Skins. And “The Moment” caused me to laugh out loud (LOL) because I thought what she said was so sadly hilarious."

Get the Story:
Gyasi Ross: Legacy of heavy breathing woman (Indian Country Today 8/31)

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