Monday, March 12, 2012

Weirdos Are Onto Something

A few years ago when I had a job and had reason to actually "go to work," I was walking from my car to the office downtown, and up the block, waiting for the light to change, stood a woman with a traffic cone on her head.  Just going about her morning, maybe going to her job at the DOT, crossing the street....with a big, orange traffic cone on her head.  She certainly got attention.  Due to her stand-out-ed-ness, I struck up a conversation with a stranger walking next to me.  We laughed and made some "whatever floats your boat" comments.  But what really struck me was that no one said anything directly to the cone-head woman, but they definitely opened up to give her a wide berth.  She was on her own, doing her thing, and she and everyone else seemed a-okay with that.  WALK ON, LADY CONE-HEAD!

Not my kid, but probably will be someday.
The fact is that any time I see someone who's a bit "off," I get curiously envious.  We had attended the Unity Church here for a while (awesome, all-inclusive, namaste-type church) and there was this woman who dressed in a mini-skirted Mrs Claus outfit for the entire month of December.  Fishnets, wee little skirt, Santa hat, and heels  (I did mention the church is all-inclusive).   She always sat front and center, participated quite a bit in the service, and literally waltzed out (and I do mean literally. She did this sort of dance move up the aisle). And while part of me was thinking "oh good grief," there was another part of me thinking "you go, girl!"  She was weird, she owned it, and everyone knew it.
Honestly, I think we're all  a bunch of weirdos, but most of us have just learned to reserve the weirdness for our complete privacy or at least for our immediate families.  I do walk around my house speaking in different accents by myself. I do have full blown out-loud conversations with the person I wish I'd told off 3 years ago when I'm by myself.  I do trace the tiles on my kitchen floor with my foot from one door to another when I'm by myself, and if I misstep, I have to start over again.  But I don't do these things when I'm out and about - although I will admit that when I was an usher at the Beacon Theatre in NYC 20 years ago, I would change accents for every patron I sat (british, cockney, southern, irish) - doesn't count as weird since no one knew any better!    And because we all stifle our freaky sides, the expectations of those around us is that we act normal. (Normal = acceptable behavior in western societies). 
Sometimes I just think the weirdos are so lucky. They somehow bucked the trend of normalcy.  And if they have perfected the art of the weirdo, that is all that is expected of them.  BE WEIRD, WEIRDO!  That's it.  Your house can be a bit messy and you can eat at unusual times of the day.  It's okay if you didn't graduate high school and it's also okay if you've been in college taking the same class for 11 years.  No one is asking you when you're getting married or why you don't have kids (although plenty of weirdos have kids & mates).  You can have that completely low-paying job to support the art project called "Demented Air of Pigeons" you've been working on in your backyard for the last 7 years.  It's okay.  You're just a little weird.  Who does not covet this life just a little bit?

For the record, when I'm talking about "weirdos," I don't mean the mentally ill.  While sometimes I wouldn't mind falling completely off my rocker for a little R&R in the local home for a few weeks, I don't wish mental illness on anyone, nor am I envious of it.  I just mean the people who get up in the morning with a slightly skewed vision of the world and how to fit in it.  The ones with the different little drummer boy in their heads allowing them to do a full dance routine at the bus stop to whatever is on their iPod.  I wish I could absorb just a little of their freakishness so that I could let loose a bit and capture the weirdo in me.  Once I do, the world better be prepared for the Avon lady with the cockney accent wearing the bird nest hat and selling homemade date bars to support my poorly made quilting projects.  "Allo, gov'nah. 'ow about a lipstick for your lady?  Only six pence!"

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