Uncomfortable with Weird People
Padhraig and I were at Java Company the other day and this girl came in wearing bright red tight hot pants. She also had dreadlocks and a jewel glued or stapled to her forehead. She sat down next to us and began writing in her journal, a small book with a fairy on the cover. A few moments later, her friend joined her--a man wearing what can only be described as a smock with roomy pants. He also had a jewel Scotch taped to his head. They sat there together, talking about...I don't know what, but halfway through, she started doing yoga exhalations or speaking in tongues. It reminded me of being back in college with a bevy of theatre majors and how I just couldn't fit in with some of them--the more hippy-ish ones, those who could contort themselves into pretzels while talking about the Dali Lama and ingesting LSD. I was always intimidated by them. I am strange, but I could never be that strange or that certain degree of strange or maybe it's that brand of showoffishness.
I am realizing though that I do have a certain degree of spirituality or maybe it's simply superstition, that thing that makes me step over cracks while walking to the subway station, wary that any wrong move might cause my mother's back to break. For instance: what do you make of going to an important appointment and encountering a large, fresh pile of human feces on the stairs on the way to catching the Green Line? Does that not seem like an omen or at the very least, a sign that the world is a horrible place? Who is so desperate that s/he must defecate on the steps at about 7 a.m. rather than going to a Starbucks or other public restroom? And what does it mean about the rest of my day, or my future? Does that mean that my future is destined to be shit? Or is poop a good symbol in some cultures? A sign of prosperity?
In other news, I finally checked out Ian McEwan's Booker Prize award-winning novel, Amsterdam. Beautifully written and he captures his characters so well. There's this scene I just read last night where the character, Clive, has to make a choice--should he help a woman clearly in distress or finish writing the last refrains of his orchestra. He chooses the latter, for very logical reasons, but it makes you dislike him so completely that the author doesn't have to editorialize at all. You just see that Clive is, at his core, fairly despicable by this one choice he makes. On the one hand, you can understand why he wants to capture this moment of creativity. On the other hand, you must shout at him from your bed, wondering how he could pick his own needs over an individual in distress. I imagine this will play out more fully later.