Normal everyday things now and then strike me as downright curious. You know those little things on the end of our feet? They are certainly peculiar, and almost funny. Have you ever been to the beach and walked around looking at people’s toes? They are all so different there are long toes, fat toes, short nailed toes, pretty painted toes, ugly man toes, and toes with giant corns sticking out of them.
Regular things done in excess can also be weird. Have you ever had someone say to you, “What are you looking at?” That happened to me the other day. I said, “Oh, sorry, nothing, nothing.” What I wanted to say was, “I was starring in awe and wonder, trying to figure out why someone would take a perfectly good set of lips and let someone poke holes in them.”
I am pretty sure people do this mostly because they want to be looked at. So, it kind of bugs me when I stare and they react with “What are you starring at?” I have recently concluded they like being starred at, just not by me.
My friend Abe, you all remember him? He first gave me the idea that people who do such things want attention. When Abe and I are in the vicinity of someone that has gone over the edge in their weirdness; he will start talking to them about their weirdness. He might say something like, “Hey, when you are eating rice, do you have any trouble keeping from spitting rice across the room with that barbell in you lip? One time I listened to Abe have a 10 minute conversation about hair dyes, techniques to apply, and the best hair dye brands with a kid who had bright green hair. Abe says to me, these people who do these behaviors have a need to be significant. So, when I talk to them I am giving them a small piece of significance. Well, I figured Abe’s words made pretty good sense.
The above principle does not always apply to people acting and looking weird. One day I was in line at the pizza place and a giant of a man was standing next to me holding a purse. Now I should probably say, when this occurred, I might not have fully understood the principle: “When you don’t understand something you might be miles ahead to just keep quite.” But, of course I thought I understood this poor man’s position exactly. I figured this man was whipped and his girl friend or wife was in the bathroom and had told him to hold her purse.
So, in an effort to show mercy and kindness to him, I casually open a dialogue. “Don’t you hate it when your woman wants you to hold her purse? I refused to do that a long time ago. You might think about taking a similar tact. I am just trying to help, next time you might end up in a more embarrassing situation than a pizza place holding who knows what.”
“Mr. this is not a purse it is a _ _ _ _ _. It is a man’s bag. “
I think the word he used to describe the bag was French. I don’t care what name he gave it. That did not change the fact it looked like a woman’s purse to me.
“Oh, I didn’t know there was such a thing. Sorry!” I meekly turned and walked to the other side of the waiting area hoping he would not follow me. I checked to see if the huge man was self controlled and apparently he was. I didn’t get the stuffing kicked out of me that night. Whew!
Just being friendly has brought trouble my way on more than one occasion. In those times I surprise myself with what comes tumbling across my lips. I will think, ‘Grayquill did you actually say that?”
“Of, course you did, if you would listen to me now and then instead of just willy-nilly saying everything that pops into your head maybe you would be in less trouble.”
“Oh, so you think you can do better? Why don’t you do the talking from now on? “
“Hey, I try to. But, when I know it is better just to be quiet, the silence seems to kill you and you just take over with blah, blah, blah, blah… and then we are both in trouble. I would appreciate it if you would just take a nap when we are in the company of a person. I’ll tell you what - you talk all you want when we are in the car alone or in the shower, or alone fishing, but when we are in the presence of people why don’t you just let me do the talking?”
“You know you are real a pain sometimes. Are you done now? Have you sufficiently shamed me? Or do you need to continue?”
“I am done.”
Is there a lesson here? Yip! Why wouldn’t there be…”If you talk to yourself, try not to answer yourself in public. People will just think you are weird.”
Well that certainly was a big mess…crazy people talking to themselves, feet and toes, man purses, piercings, and blah, blah, blah….. Sorry for wasting your time.
But seriously, people are very odd sometimes. There is an area in our city called Capital Hill, it is known for its weirdness. A full day of entertainment can happen, just sitting at a sidewalk café watching the sea of humanity stroll by. That statement drips of judgments and biases – “I am better than them.” - Does that pretty much cover it?
I am as sick about that as you are.
Growing up, two dominate messages followed me into adulthood. One was: Anyone different, had something wrong with them and I needed to be afraid of them. The second was: Anyone different was probably a heathen, not nice, and probably out to get me.
Even though I am still a little afraid of anyone different I have found underneath the tattoos, the piercings is a person who sometimes feels lonely just like I do, is afraid just like I am sometimes, talks to himself just like I do on my blog, and probably is trying to figure out this thing called life much the same as I am.
A quote from Steve Brown might serve well for our lesson - “I am just a beggar telling another beggar where he can find bread” That might be a good starting point.