Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chalk and... Chalk.

Chalk is pretty interesting stuff. It’s a sedimentary rock and is made from the remains of microorganisms. When combined with a blackboard, the image is one associated with learning. It is used in agriculture, gymnastics, even in building works.
It’s really interesting, useful, versatile stuff.
And I hate it. I loathe it with every fibre of my being. It is the most heinous substance known to man and should never, ever have been put into use as a writing implement. Just thinking about it is enough to make my skin try to crawl off the rest of my body so that it doesn’t have to risk touching the the hypothetical chalk. Actually, that could make a really good album title. But I digress.
I developed my aversion to chalk at some point in primary school. It’s not the screeching sound it makes on the board that’s the problem, as it is with most people - it’s the softer sound it makes normally which irritates me. As I just mentioned, I also can’t touch the stuff so being asked to write something on the board with chalk has always been a deep-seated fear of mine. Had whiteboards not become the dominant type of board, I would never have done an education degree because I would never have been able to work in teaching. If blackboards were still widely used, I either would never have gone into the profession or I would have used up every single cent of my photocopying credit on overhead projections and plain overhead sheets, and possibly the whole school’s yearly overhead budget. And then been fired for it.
I figured out recently that it’s not specifically chalk which is the problem, but rather having dry hands. When my hands are dry, I can’t touch anything; if I’ve just had a shower, I have to use really creamy moisturiser before I can handle anything fluffy (makes towelling off interesting) or made of paper, or even remotely grainy or dusty. Chalk, of course, dries the hands out and is also grainy and dusty, so we have a nice trifecta of “unpleasantness”.
The first time I cleaned out a non-disposable vacuum bag, the dust dried my hands out and then there was more dust to touch and that dried my hands further and made them even more sensitive to the fine particles and grit.... My hair stood on end, I felt like my teeth were being scraped by the dentist (only this was less enjoyable), and then something truly bizarre happened: I started getting hot flashes.
My whole body rebelled against this vile substance, even down to my temperature regulation system. At this point, I dropped the vacuum bag and called for help, because I was freaking out over how horrible it felt. My fiancé took over, and immediately understood my aversion to the task, because he knows about my aversion and his hands get dry too. 
He just doesn’t go into premature menopause over it.