Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Stranger

I look at other people, then I look at myself, and I make this observation: I'm odd.

Why do I think I'm odd, you ask? Good question. Well, first off, I look at other people, then I look at myself, and I try to determine what is odd and what is not from that observation. That's odd. But there's more.

Let's take my hobbies. ("Take my hobbies, please!") I played competitive table tennis for more than 30 years until I had a knee blow out. And when I coached table tennis players I mostly coached wheelchair players, even though I never used a wheelchair.

OK, who plays competitive table tennis? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller? And how the heck did I decide to coach wheelchair players? And why am I mixing pronouns all over the place in this blog entry?

Next up: magic. I even worked as a professional magician for a very short time. Magic is, by its very nature, strange. One works very hard to develop skills so that one looks like one has no skills to display. Magic attracts some odd cats. And consider; as a magician, one's job is to convine folks that the impossible is happening. Granted, not very many magicians achieve that goal, or even know it's the goal to be achieved, but there you are.

I have also written and performed stand-up comedy. I've even sold some of the stuff I've written. OK, now the quirks are getting serious.

I'm also into origami. Yep, that weird stuff where you take a piece of paper and fold it into some vaguely recognizable shape. And I'm not just into the folding part, or the end result, I love the process, and the mathematics behind it. (That's right: I'm also a math geek. I read math books for fun.)

Music kind of sums up the oddity that is me in many ways. Love music of all sorts, including stuff that to many people barely classifies as music. I'm as likely to listen to Jim Pepper as I am to Bach as I am to OutKast as I am to George Harrison as I am to Antony and the Johnsons as I am to Animal Collective as I am to Gregorian chants as I am to Phil Ochs as I am to Milla etc. One of the ways I purchase music works like this: I walk into a place that sells music, go up to the first sales person I see, and ask them what they would listen to if they could put anything on right now. My rule is if it's in the store and I don't own it, I must buy it. It keeps me from getting in a musical rut, and I've found some terrific music that way. If they ask what I like, I tell them that's not the point.

I like horror movies, action films and chick flicks. Oh, and cartoons. I love cartoons.

Other oddities: I still marvel that we have less sunlight as we approach winter and more as we approach summer. I love watching familiar shadows creep various distances as the seasons change.

One time on a trip I suddenly burst into tears. When my wife asked what was the matter I explained that I had the sudden feeling that every blade of grass (pointing to the prairie outside our window) was my friend.

I don't watch much television but I have a lot of information about current programs because I'm always reading - either magazines or internet articles.

I form attachments much easier with children and animals than I do with adults. However, I don't want any children of my own.

I'm very precise with my own communication, but accepting of imprecision in others'. I select words with a care that sometimes borders on OCD. I'll worry over minute shades of meaning, struggling to convey what I want to say. Sometimes this makes me sound pompous. It's not intended.

I'll become fascinated by random subjects. I'll research them, collect articles, find online communities, and generally immerse myself. One such recent fascination is autism. Interest in autism has changed my perspective on a number of subjects, some only tangentially related.

Anyway, take all of those things and more (I didn't list some of the weirder ones such as my thing with Wesson Oil, baby snakes, and BBs), and you end up with one strange dude.

I dare you to disagree.


Anonymous said...

I read maps for fun. I understand them better than regular books. -HH

Anonymous said...

Cool. Like The Police said, looks like I'm not alone on being alone.

I would imagine one could learn quite a bit from maps, and take quite a few trips without leaving one's chair.