I’m coming to the end of a four day trip to NYC, visiting an old friend, getting out of my routine, and seeing new and exciting places. In the past, NYC made me sick every time I came here. The pollution of the city is just overwhelming, and I get a cough or something. I’m hoping this time the curse is broken.
While being here, I’ve seen break-dancers, protesters, bums, tourists, natives, models, 30 Rock, Times Square, Central Park, pirates on a photo shoot, a Broadway show called Avenue Q, and a lot of the city that tourists never see. I’ve gotten to catch up with a good friend and get some mental space from my job back home. I got some perspective. And some damn fine food. New York City is actively courting me on this trip.
Not that I’d ever want to live here. It’s too fast paced for me. But I like it as a place to visit occasionally. The brisk attitude of Northerners amuses me, and it is a refreshing change of pace from the South, but I’d like a balance between Southern Sweetness and Northern Directness.
I’ve had a strange revelation that compels me to write this blog- it is somewhat connected to this trip and somewhat not. In recent months, I’ve been watching the coping mechanisms of people more closely. All people in general. I’ve been paying closer attention to the little quirks that people cling to and the things they do to try to conform the world to their perspective, to make It All fit what they want/need to believe about their day and its experiences.
As background, let me tell you that as a kid, all the way up to the age of around, say 26, I gave adults waaaaaaaaaaay too much credit. It’s partially why I’m so soured on organized religion. Adults use it to justify so much instead of using higher critical thinking skills and reasoning. I honestly used to believe that adults knew more of what they were doing, that they used more logic and behaved better than they do. Mental illness notwithstanding, I used to believe that Adults Knew Better- this led me to anticipate for a long time that happy day when I, too, would Know Better, would make better choices by virtue of my adult wisdom, would understand things and find a den of like-minded people to grow with.
I know better now. As John Mayer, that skeezy man-whore so aptly put it, “I just found out there’s no such thing as the real world- just some lie you’ve got to rise above.”
So back to my point- I’ve been watching people more closely. Noticing the lies they tell themselves and others, the ticks, the rationalizations, the projections, the shortcuts, the avoidances, etc. As I watch, I notice how many people have idiosyncrasies that, if considered in isolation, would amount to a borderline personality disorder. Or a mental disease. Or a felony. Once I started paying attention to these things around me, shutting it off is difficult to say the very least.
To ME, my personality has its share of quirks- I eat food strangely, I’m OCD about neatness, I automatically lock my car doors about twice per minute without even thinking about it, I have a physical reaction to conflict. Its part of who I am, and so integral that I don’t always notice it anymore. It’s just…me. Most people are the same way. Inside your own head, you don’t notice when you say something hurtful unless it would have hurt you to hear it said. You don’t consider some things until your not considering it brings up problems with other people (example- if no one ever trained you to fold the toothpaste from bottom to top, then you don’t think about how you do it. It’s just how you do it. It’s not even on your radar. Your snookie-bear, however, begins to think after a while that you squeeze the Crest from the middle because you are an insensitive prick who obviously doesn’t care about other people or their needs). You get the idea?
You do this too.
And accepting this fact is a major precondition to accepting my point as a logical conclusion based on observations. You do this too. You have something that has never registered with you the drives someone mad (with anger or lust or both…it’s hard to see these things coming until someone either kindly tells you to your face or tries to rip your clothes off. It depends on which emotion you provoked). You have things you do that seem perfectly logical to you- in your head, in your world. You’ve done a lot of hard mental work to set up in your mind the necessity of acting the way that you act. And you’ve likely built a world around these rationalization and understandings of reality that you are loathe to part with, no matter what the haters say.
My problem is not the realization that people have coping mechanisms that allow them to cling to their realities- it is the co-realization how much of the shit that people throw around is utterly subjective (and that they want to assert is objective). I’ve realized, truly and deeply, how people try to fit their neurosis over their entire world like an ill-fitting bed sheet. It causes tension. It causes pain. It causes traffic accidents. It causes me to drink way to early in the afternoon sometimes.
I wish I could be like certain people I know (name rhymes with Smindsay) who seem to say “Fuck you!” to the world and ask “Why not?” on a daily basis. I really, really wish I could. 😛
But learning how to filter out the insane amount of bullshit in the world seems to take up all my energy most days. If anyone has any ideas on how to spend less time dealing with the subjective bullshit of others and more time dealing with my own, I am open to ideas.
But not too many ideas….I overstimulate easily.