asymmetry

When I head out on a run, I’m constantly readjusting the earbud in my right ear. In the left ear, the generically round insert stays put. In the right, it slips to and fro, and every quarter to half mile I’m twisting it so that I can continue to listen to Frank Turner, RadioLab, or Dickens.

Clearly, I’m asymmetric. My left ear provides a perfect fit. This is probably more remarkable than the fact that the right speaker gradually slips out of its intended orifice. There’s no part of my body that meets the perfectly circular specifications of a mass produced piece of plastic with wire mesh and rubber washer.

This is mildly annoying, but mostly it’s validating. I’ve claimed, for years, that my body is asymmetrical, especially with regards to my left leg. It’s slightly longer than its twin, and I claim that I can sense this in my stride. My supportive spouse thinks I’m ridiculous. This is but one example.

Having asymmetrical ear fittings just verifies that these imbalances, imperfections, and irregularities are just a part of me. And it’s no surprise. I have a spleen on one side, an appendix, stomach, liver, and other internals that are on one side or the other. It only makes sense that I should have other slightly out of whack attributes and physicality. After all, how does the body support the spleen on the left side unless it has a slightly longer support on that same side? Looking in the mirror, there’s the natural part of my scalp, the irregular hair sprouting from the left eyebrow, the crease on the right side unmatched on the left. I’m a walking Picasso in the flesh.

It’s probably more remarkable that there’s any symmetry than that there should be a lack of it. Two eyes, two hands, two lungs… It all very closely matches up as a mirror image until you consider those small irregularities and those single organs that need to get fit in, all together, in some semblance of order. As I limp along, earbud falling out, I feel a little better about all of the other out of place things and imbalances in my life. It’s enough to make me want to take a nap, curled up on my right side, perhaps to give my longer left leg the room to stretch out.

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