Thursday, January 26, 2012

Examining A Strange Moistness

There's one of those things that people say. Something about wearing someone else's shoes. I don't believe in repeating things idly, but I do think I believe that sentiment. I think one thing we should not, under any circumstances do, is wear someone else's hat. The shoes are kind of icky, but the metaphorical shoes of the metaphor will probably not have athlete's foot or a strange moistness to them. Probably it's about having some perspective. The hats though, the hats. It's one thing to try and see from another perspective. That's a good idea, nay, a necessary one for living peaceably among plants and animals and men. It's another thing entirely to attempt the interior of another's skull. That stuff's encased in bone and goo for a reason. Think with me here, if you could really and truly have front row seats to the action in a loved one's cranium would you take it? I don't think I would. It would blow my mind. Literally. I think there would just be some sort of high pitched humming and then zzzzzt! nothing. It kind of blows my mind to be inside my own cranium sometimes.

One time I told a friend of mine that I just wanted to crawl inside his head and take a nap. He said that it would be a dark and lonely place to sleep, crowded with baggage and possibly clowns. I changed my mind. No thanks.

So, I'm in the car today by myself just prattling on something like this:*

Why do all the deejays in Seattle think it's cute to do that shambling, self-conscious thing with the erm, uh, well, yeah and pauses too long to be on air? Is that a thing? Am I so old that that's a thing now and I missed it somewhere? Hey wait, did he just say Emmy Lou Harris and John Prine? What?! Oh nuts. It was a "just before that, you heard..." situation. This is why I don't listen to the radio. It's so fleeting. I'm always missing something crucial. I could have heard that Emmy Lou Harris & John Prine cover that I've never heard of but instead it's this twaddle. What's the Cracker song? How does that go? "What the world needs now is another folk singer, like I need a hole in my head." Earnest girls with big glasses and bangs. Heh heh. Hey, remember that time I heard the deejay say "with a deep nod to Black Sabbath, a retrospective of Thai death metal, circa 1978" and then I had to get out of the car? That left so many unanswered questions. Oh look, the personal fitness place closed down. Those are kind of like folk singers in this town. Never send a girl to do a man's work. I didn't even know there was such a thing as Thai death metal. What in the world does that sound like? How can there have been a Thai death metal history stretching at least back to 1978 and I'm just now.... what? Wait. What was that?! NEVER SEND A GIRL TO DO A MAN'S WORK?! What does that even mean? Why did I think that?! What does that have to do with anything? and so on.

This, of course, took place over the span of about 15 seconds. Imagine that for about 20 hours a day and then sometimes while you're sleeping except with pictures and sounds, too. But the thing is that you can't imagine that. Because I can't imagine it and it's coming from my brain. The whole notion of a brain thinking about itself can send me right around the bend on the right kind of day. What I have obsessed about for the rest of the day (other than how could I have forgotten that Christian Slater was in Prince of Thieves? Would I rather Robin Hood sidekick Christian Salter or Heathers Christian Slater or ooh no! Pump Up the Volume Christian Slater. (Larissa, if you're reading, get to Googlin'!) and also writing in the second person - can it be done in a way that is neither tedious nor confusing?) has been the fact that my very own brain injected a piece of complete misogynistic nonsense into a perfectly normal afternoon.

Now I have to consider the following: Is it a message from my subconscious? Have I had enough/not enough/way too much coffee to drink today? Is that a line from a movie? If so, why did I watch a movie like that? If it was a movie that I watched with such bad writing that I can't even remember, why did that just lodge itself and then pop up later like a bit of Christmas ham from a molar? Am I hearing voices? No, that was clearly my own voice, my own head voice anyway, so why would I say that to myself? What about John Prine led to that crazy bit of free association? And of course, the ever-important consideration: do I need a nap?

So back to the shoes. Used footwear aside, sometimes we think we know. We look with our eyes at the outside of that cranium and the skin and hair that encloses it and we judge. We do. We don't mean to sometimes, but we do it. She gave me a dirty look, he didn't say hi, she shut the door in my face, would it hurt to run a comb through that mess? and so on. We listen with our ears and our hearts and I believe the most of us try to honestly hear and understand. But we don't know. We think we know, but we don't. We can't crawl inside that goo and take a nap or be scared witless. But we can know what inhabits the strange interior seascape of our own mottled universes. We can know that we don't even understand all of that strange moistness that belongs to us, so why do we presume to judge the ickiness of another based on such dodgy evidence as a raised eyebrow or a smile that's too tight? Why, oh why? do my pajama pants smell like a junior high boys' locker room?! I just washed them.


*The following paragraph is as close an approximation as I can get to the babble of consciousness in my brain while I was driving. It may not make a whole lot of sense to anyone, but that's kind of the point.

18 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. So, this is thinky enough that my brain couldn't absorb anything the first time I read it. Except the mental picture of being inside someone's skull and that grossed me out. ;-) And this - "a dark and lonely place to sleep, crowded with baggage and possibly clowns" - see, clowns freak me out, so I was a goner right there. As I read other readers' comments, however, their brains are clearly in a gear mine could not comprehend last night, so let's try this again, shall we?

      (when does a comment turn to EPIC proportions?)

      Shoes and hats and judging and ack! We shouldn't, but we do. From Michelle's comment below: "I try not to judge, but I do. I keep telling myself I don't know that person's story; maybe their day has gone up a bad creek and they've lost their oars. I think if I keep telling myself this, one day it might become first nature instead of second." - yes, again.

      I can't even figure out my own self half the time, so attempting to figure out another is certainly an exercise in futility, and dare I say egotistical? To think I can spot another's goo and know their story simply based on whateverIpickedthatday? I'm good, but I'm not *that* good. It is humbling to realize that even the people I feel like I know fairly well (take Marie down there) in real life, I still don't know what is going on in their head. (well, maybe Marie is a more complicated than necessary example - ha! Love you! xoxo!)

      This reminds me again of dealing with my father's death. It's not morbid. Stay with me.

      My father was married when he died. My father had 3 sons and 1 daughter when he died. I barely knew how *I* was feeling and reeling after he passed, let alone try to estimate what my brothers and stepmom were feeling. I know my stepmom pretty well. She lost her HUSBAND, I lost my father. Different relationship. No concept. I knew my brothers kind of okay at that point (how well does one know teenaged boys who live across the country anyway?) and we all lost our father, but still, different relationship. Different experience. I was an adult, they were (technically) children. My father was my second parent I'd lost to death, whereas he was their first.

      This is epically long to say - yes. Agreed. And *that's* why I got nothing.

      So's your face.

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    2. Exactly. Exactly. Grieving is a perfect example of that. No two people grieve exactly the same, but we try to smooth out the edges: "I understand how you feel because I went through the same thing." Well? Not really, right? Some commonality, but it's the in gaps where the real hurting lies.
      I was only teasing you about the "I got nothin'" thing.

      Delete
  2. Oh girl. I am only half full of coffee, so the Seattle DJ bit lost me a little. LOL

    But your message about shoes versus hats is *wonderful*. I agree, we generally TRY to not judge, but we do anyway. Even if in very small ways. And there may very well be many good reasons that our interior lives are so well encased by bone, goo, and hair. Gross, by the way.

    I think you're onto something there. Personally? I don't even believe in hypnosis and heavy delving. I think the mind is a wonderfully built and finely programmed thing that might not respond favorably to being goofed around with. But that;s just me.

    Great piece, as always. I will have to read this again when I am fully functioning. : )

    Happy weekend to you!

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    1. I agree with you about the "wonderfully built and finely programmed". Sometimes delving seems necessary, but probably not as often as I inadvertently subject myself to.
      It is gross, isn't it? Gross, but true. Sorry to interrupt your coffee!

      Delete
  3. I'm with M. Except to add: thanks for the gross visual, and also yes, I completely agree about the passing judgement. Anyone that says they don't is a liar- we can't help it.

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    1. It's like I tell my kids - you can't always help what you think, but you can help what you do with what you think.
      Yes, it was gross. Sorry.

      Delete
  4. Listen, listen, listen. There's so very much to comment upon here, and I may come back later and leave an annoying series of brief comments like bread crumbs marking the trail back to my own cranial goo, but for now suffice it to say that I think often about the sheer impossibility of truly knowing the "insides" of another person and here's what I'm thinking about it right now: The fact that we can never truly know one another is both humanity's greatest tragedy and our saving grace.

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    1. I would love a series of bread crumb comments from you. Anything but annoying.
      I agree it is a saving grace. Probably if I had any grace at all, I would have spared my darling readers even that close a look, but hey! it's my 3rd NaBloPoMo in a row!
      Send me some bread crumbs, Gretel!

      Delete
  5. At first I thought you might be going with the too often forgotten warning about not sharing hats (or combs) to prevent a lice epidemic, and I was like, yes! Then I kept reading, and it was even better than that! I try not to judge, but I do. I keep telling myself I don't know that person's story; maybe their day has gone up a bad creek and they've lost their oars. I think if I keep telling myself this, one day it might become first nature instead of second.

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    1. Head lice gives me the willies.
      I am with you on that struggle. I will settle for second nature, but really would prefer first as well.

      Delete
  6. I am not sure I have more to add. I am like a sponge today. Just absorbing. More to add to my own goo. Thanks.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by to absorb some goo!

      Delete
  7. See, the thing is, so many of your posts leave me wordless, as in I don't know how to comment without sounding lame and all "Oh great post" which doesn't do it justice. I love to comment, to leave feedback, but sometimes I can't figure out what else to say! Nothing more can be said. I can only go sit in a corner mulling everything over, trying to comb out the thoughts you've aggravated.

    I too freaked out at the thought of clowns in a dark place, I too want being less judgmental to become my first nature instead of second, and I want to find somewhat of a balance between being judgmental, and having the right amout of judgement [does that even make sense?].

    P.S. Google is my buddy when I read here. So many movie and actor allusions, so little time. My ranking myself of being a movie freak and memorizer has gone right out the window several pop culture references ago.

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    1. You are the sweetest of hearts. I fear you are receiving all the wrong sort of education from me. The difference between being judgmental and having the right sort of judgement makes all the sense to me. It's a quest of my own.
      Yes, with the clowns.

      Delete
  8. Was it me that reminded you of Slater in POT? I hope it was. I hate it when I can't get my brain to quiet down. Of course, for me an overactive brain can lead toward depression. So I'm forced to put a lid on it!

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    1. Why yes, yes it was. 126 points for you. 104 for making me think of Christian Slater in the first place and 22 for spotting it.
      An overactive brain means the same thing for me a lot of times, too. (Cursing the INF temperament!) I laugh in its face. Sometimes it's a bit of a forced, maniacal laughter.

      Delete
  9. Blogger ate my comment *sigh*.

    As I lay drifting off to sleep the other night, I was startled awake by the strange turn my own stream of consciousness had taken. And then I laid there giggling to myself at the weird of my brain.

    I think I've asked you this before but, if you've never read any Robert Anton Wilson, you really really should. The filters of our own experience we drape over the heads of other people's actions are truly astounding! Consider that we are layering those filters over their experience filters and what you've got is a heap of knee-deep judge-y goo better left untouched.

    PS Pump Up the Volume Slater. Definitely.

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