By Judi Morress
I've been thinking about these two terms lately: “getting into” and “getting out of.” It seems to me that they pretty much describe everything we do.
“Getting into” something is an action we take on
our own initiative, and that can be a good thing. For example, getting into a good book is enjoyable.
But if it's a not-so-good book, we say, “I just can't get into it. I wonder if I can get out of reading it?”
You usually can get out of it, unless you're a student and said book is required reading. So, you grudgingly read it, and then complain, “I just didn't get anything out of that darn book.” It appears that the only thing you wanted to get out of it was you, so you didn't even try to get anything else out of it. Shame on you!
Do you remember your mother saying something like, “Now don't you kids get into trouble while I'm at the store!” But you did anyway, didn't you?” That wasn't so good, was it? Then you tried to think of a way to “get out of” a spanking.
“Getting out of” seems to me to be kind of a weaseley thing. Something that you “got into” didn't turn out to be what you thought it would, so you then had to try to “get out of” it.
Is the “getting out of” it a good thing or a bad thing? It depends. Take divorce.
“Getting into” something was very popular in the sixties. Someone would say, “Oh, he's very into “Transcendental Meditation” or “Buddhism” or whatever people were getting into, often with the help of various herbal aids. Some then “got into” rehab, others were busy trying to “get out of” the
Back when I was a teen-ager (when dinosaurs roamed the earth), a girl who became pregnant without the sanction of wedlock, was said to have “gotten in trouble.” In fact, it was often said that “she got herself into trouble.” Even with my sketchy understanding of the mechanics of the whole
thing then, I was pretty sure that she didn't do this all by herself, no matter how much the boy wanted to “get out of it.”
Things have changed so much since that time, that now the happy couple (wed or not, that doesn't seem to matter anymore), will announce that, “We are pregnant!” Ah, would that this could be so. “We” (the would-be parents) can be expecting, “We” can take equal responsibility for child care,
etc., But... “We” cannot be pregnant. “Pregnant” is a medical term, and you just sound stupid if you say “We are pregnant.”
What got me into thinking about “getting into” and “getting out of” in the first place, was a couple of experiences I had recently. There was a problem with my shower, so I took a tub bath
instead. Well, I haven't had a tub bath in probably 25 years, ever since I found that I could shave my legs standing up in the shower. You understand that I'm not quite as agile as I was 25 years ago.
I finished bathing, and then sat there and wondered, how do I get out of here? I tried pushing myself up on the rim of the tub, but I kept sliding around. My son was due to arrive at my house soon, but I didn't want the experience of helping his 74 year old naked mother to her feet in the bathtub to be how he remembered me. I'm sure he would agree if I ever told him this, which, of course, won't ever happen.
Well, finally I rolled over, got on my hands and knees, and crawled out of the tub. When my son arrived, he began cutting the grass. I needed to run some errands so I went out to
my car, and found that my son had parked so close to me that I could only get my car door open about 6 inches. Well, no matter how you turn me, I'm wider than 6 inches.
I didn't want to interrupt my son, after all, he was cutting my grass, so I went to the passenger side and got in. Back in the olden days, cars had bench seats and you could slide from one side to the other (see paragraph above re: “girls getting themselves in trouble”). Nowadays, we have bucket seats with a big hulking console and gearshift and emergency brake between them (and, by the way, no place to put your purse. Several
years ago I read that a major auto manufacturer conducted a survey to find out what women wanted in a car. Overwhelmingly, they want a place to put their purses. So far, it hasn't happened).
Anyhow, I was now in the car in the passenger seat. How to get over into the driver seat? Hmm. I rejected the headfirst approach, thinking I'd just get stuck. Butt first would probably have the same result.
I took a deep breath, and leaning back on the passenger door, swung my legs over the console, then leaned forward and grabbed the steering wheel and pulled myself into the driver's seat.
If you tell someone that your major accomplishments for the day were getting out of the bathtub and getting into the car, they'd probably think, “Poor soul, she really needs help.” They'd be right.
(Judi Morress is a poet and writer of non-fiction and fiction. She is a member of the Monday Morning Writers Group in Cincinnati, Ohio. This copyrighted essay is used by her kind permission.)