Help! I am a misanthropist. Part 1

humor, miscellaneous, writing

I am a very curious, horridly direct, incisive sort of person, afflicted with uncontrollable truthfulness, which means that I find most people obtuse, insecure, boring and kind of namby-pamby. It also means that I frequently make these same people quite bothered or at the least uncomfortable. Being, as I am, in the minority, I realize that I am perhaps more the problem than they are. It’s a miracle really that I managed to get married, and happily, and early on, even my mother thought I would end up as a bit of a feral thing living deep in the woods up in some tree surrounded by wet man-eating koalas.

3eead2e018dc98ee533b2cfb4ac63cbbee3dd69ca217719a6a757512ae7e8768The qualities that I respond to in people are universally hailed as well as claimed by most, while being in fact possessed by almost none. Earnestness, good nature, true inner confidence, directness, decisiveness, insightfulness, self awareness, consideration of others and an agile mind are just some of the things that are necessary for me to form connections with other people or simply to find them likable. I am not just rattling off a catalog of positive human qualifications either, I take careful inventory and fastidiously measure every one of the items mentioned in all whom I meet. The list is absurdly long too, but it has organically grown inside me like a weed, regrettably I am not its gardener and haven’t the power to redact it. Trust me, I would if I could, life would be plenty easier.

If I had to sum it all up I’d say integrity is what I find to be most lacking in my species, and I mean the daily kind, the integrity of little things, small decisions, ordinary moments, minute conversations. I think this is a legitimate gripe against western peoples and something that amply justifies my burgeoning misanthropy-ism. The trouble is though, that it’s the other, much less weighty, much more superficial stuff that often informs my feelings about my fellow humans. Sometimes, before I even have the chance to examine their deeper, more substantive aptitudes, I find myself either painfully disinterested or worse, not being able to stand them at all. Therein lies what I’ve discerned to be my central (and only actually) character flaw. Intolerance.

funny_rebel_cartoon_stickers-rffdddae71bdc43df849fe2d77df2dd33_v9wf3_8byvr_324 I am intolerant. Sometimes it means that I’m short, sharp and dismissive. It also means that inside my head I am unkind, judgmental and even unjust. The side effect of my, lets call it “persnickety”, mental conformation is that I have throughout my life been sort of socially lacking, more so than my communicative, lively nature would ideally have it.

One of my resolutions for this new year, which marks the beginning of the fourth decade of my time on earth, is to better myself (where betterment still can be attained). There aren’t a lot of areas for improvement here, cus I am obviously awesome, but this intolerant thing, well I’ve started working on it. It’s time to do some changing. I’ve realized that not all friends have to be great or close or real even, some can just be friends “lite”, like the free version of the app you want with the ads and the limited functional scope. A connection does not have to be absolute and exact to warrant some level of friendship or social engagement.  I don’t know if this is progress or regress, because it certainly smacks a bit of a kind of disillusionment and settling. I am hoping though, that it’s not so much an abandonment of my exalted ideals, as it is their necessary modification and softening. Bonding being achieved not through an instant congress of souls or minds but rather through repeated physical proximity and shared social experiences? Seems like reasonable recourse.

It has not been easy. These new friends might look good, but they are trying the hell out of my patience and resolve. I do find myself having bits of legitimate fun here and there, and whereas my mental health is sometimes stretched to its limit I opt for hugging, rather than kicking or biting. I am testing the theory that negative thinking can be remedied by positive body language. I realize this might seem utterly ridiculous, but I am actually a very physically affectionate person by nature, and hugging or touching those I love is very natural to me, so I’m hoping it works similarly in reverse with those I am trying to love.  Also, going out has given me a reason to color coordinate again and that’s like totally like EVERYTHING.

10352331_10204753052293462_1900082752480580389_n01-girls-hugging-as-best-friends110931483_1766025853621694_361518666592811382_n

Mmmm that’s all I care to say on this subject right now…but it will be a multi-part post, detailing my experience as a newly minted social person with friends and things to do on a Saturday night.

im-not-antisocial

Chapter 5: When things got weird

writing

Ch 5

             It was impossible not to stare at them. A small girl of nine or ten with her right hand firmly planted on the back of a mangy skeletal hound was slowly crossing the street. The dog was enormous, almost as tall as the child and, judging from appearance, in a truly pitiful state of health. It was thin and gaunt, with ribs prominently displayed through paper-thin layer of ashy skin and a sharply protruding spine beneath patches of strange grey fur. It was either very old, very sick or both. On the contrary the little girl brimmed with health. Her skin was pink, almost peachy; wispy auburn hair covered her shoulders in a cascade of curls, she moved her tiny feet pointing her toes, like a little dancer. Even from a distance I could see her bright eyes shining like tiny ambers from beneath long thick eyelashes. The duo had such a peculiar quality to them that even I, in my state of heightened self-involvement, forgot myself for a minute, stopped and marveled at them making their way to my side of the street. When they came closer I was surprised to discover two things, the dog was even uglier and more handicapped than I had imagined, both of its eyes were glossed over with a thick white film, and the beautiful little girl walking by its side was, in reality, an even more beautiful boy. The animal was obviously blind, and the boy’s hand was moving it along. He was a “guide boy” I thought, an ironic reversal of roles between a human and his dog. Having cast off all considerations for that social convention, which since early childhood instructs us not to stare, I stood there, watching them approach. They were like something out of a fairy tale or from another time, so out of place on this otherwise unremarkable Los Angeles block.

When they were about half way across the street I realized that the little boy seemed just as interested in me as I was in him. Unapologetically staring back into my face he floated towards me, right up to the point when there was no more than 3 feet of pavement left between us, at which time he stopped and shifted his eyes to the shopping bag in my hand. A bottle of cheap Vodka, prominently displayed itself against its transparent plastic containment. If it didn’t occur to me to feel self-conscious right then, the words that proceeded to come out of his tiny pink mouth turned me scarlet red.

“Drink much?” Was all he said, but those two words spoken in that little girl voice made all the blood in my body rush straight to my face.

“What?” I thought It had to have been a misunderstanding, I must have misheard him.

But he just stood there, unabashedly staring me down. It was an uncomfortable, unexpected turn of events. This child managed to go from an enchanting little fairy tale prince to an obnoxious little shit in as much time as it took him to blurt out those two words. I could tell that I really didn’t have a choice but to extricate myself from this situation. Whether he said what I thought he said, or not, getting into it with a little kid in the middle of the street wasn’t going to help matters. I had enough sense left in me to just walk away. Completely dumbfounded, I stiffly turned on my heels and started walking in the apposite direction from whence he came.

“Surreal, completely surreal” I mumbled to myself.

Despite best efforts to free my mind from the echo of that condescending little voice, it seemed to have stuck to me, as unnerving in its residual state as it was when I first heard it. But if that wasn’t enough, the bizarre duo itself turned out to have been just as persistent. When quite some time later I heard footsteps nearby and looked over my shoulder, I saw them trailing behind me, about 30 feet away. Agitated by the discovery I quickened my stride and in a few minutes checked for them again, the distance between us had not increased. Were they intentionally keeping pace? I wasn’t in any kind of a mood to be haunted by some snotty little asshole and his ugly stray. I stopped abruptly, whipped around and glared straight at them.

“Listen, Lord Fauntleroy, where are you parents? What do you think you are doing? Where are your parents?” I shouted, the sound of my own voice surprised me, it was incredibly high, like a shrill. His reaction was not at all what I expected either. Instead of looking intimidated or scared, like a child ought to look when faced with an angry, spitting adult, this boy let out the most wholehearted and boisterous laugh. He laughed! At me?

“Parents? Ha Ha Ha! Where are your parents? Do they know what you’ve been up to? Anyways, other people have business this way too, you really ought to do something about the paranoia.”

He sounded nothing like a 10 year old, and nothing like a stranger. I blinked stupidly fast, hoping that added eye lubrication would assist me in clarifying this entire conundrum, maybe I knew him from somewhere, or maybe he wasn’t a child at all but some kind of a little person. Still in front of me stood a strange small boy and a large ugly dog, and his angelic appearance did not match his insolent tongue. I found myself in exactly the same situation I was in the first time around with only one mature course of action-to leave. So once again I turned around and walked on. But he wasn’t done with me.

“And Charly, you ought to hurry, it’s about to rain.”

My eyes widened to the point of a facial spasm. The last time I felt frightened like that I was 7, my sister had put on a scary clown mask with long sharp teeth and jumped out from under my bed as I was climbing into it. I remember feeling then just like I did now, convinced that she was something otherworldly, I had taken off running out of my room screaming for help. When I heard my name, spoken so nonchalantly in that little voice by that little stranger, my feet reacted, running away with me as fast as they could, just like I did when I was 7. Thankfully I wasn’t far from my hotel so my new pace allowed me to reach it within a couple of minutes. Ducking in under its awning I stopped and leaned on the gilded front doors, trying to catch my breath. Finally I dared to look back for the first time since I set off sprinting like a mad woman. To my relief the street behind me was empty; there was no trace of the runt or his dog. I squinted and stuck my head out into the street, trying to peer out further than my sight would allow, a drop of water fell on my face, I wiped it off with the back of my hand, but one more drop fell in its place, the next thing I knew rain was pouring from the sky. As predicted.

Revolt, escape, FREEDOM!..or..Reclamation of SANITY!

writing

Today I decisively reclaimed my sanity. I showed up at my stable at 7:30 am. Tacked up my horse. Jumped on her back and rode out of that hellhole, without a word to anyone. Sayonara bitches! I do not have a trailer, and did not have the time or want the hassle of arranging for one, so I grabbed a map and devised a route. We rode 4 miles through the city to my new barn destination, would have been 3.5 had we not gotten turned around. Some would say radical, but it was mostly just liberating. I’m sure it was a weird sight, a giant horse toting around a girl through streets and suburbs. But for me it was perfect, until, despite all of my planning, we got lost. At first it seemed a lot like a set-back, until we came upon a ravine I had never seen before, concealed as it were in a wash, below and between streets. Green at its floor and wide open ahead, it beckoned we lay foot to its soil and reconnoiter. It wasn’t a setback, it was a gift…and we accepted. There was gallop. Hooves bouncing rhythmically from grass, warm waves of air brushing against skin, blood rose to head and freedom to mind, sanity was once again firmly within our grasp.

 In my recent blog entry titled “Proximity over sanity” I had described the unfortunate circumstances of my horse’s lodgings. To sum it up, due to considerations of proximity I had subjected myself to continual indecency from the two “women” who own/run the stable. These two have over time proven themselves to be completely deranged, mostly rude, never helpful, seldom civil.

 For months I had walked on eggshells, tolerated being the subject of untrue gossip, endured castigating outbursts and unfounded suspicion. Boohoo, poor me. I know. Stay with me though. Riding had taken a backseat to escalating anxiety, to keeping a low profile, to worrying about the welfare of my equine child. I don’t mean to come of as a victim, but there is a frailty to my composition, which stems from being raised by good, decent, intelligent people. That’s the thing about a stable upbringing, it can be a hindrance in an unstable world. It precludes people like myself from developing the coping mechanisms necessary for fending off those people unlike myself. I should have thicker skin by this point, as my world-the horse world, is full of folks who would greatly benefit from a spell in a mental health sanitarium or, at least, a lithium prescription. But I don’t. I think in this way I’ll always be a bit of a delicate flower :P.

Being treated like dirt, it just doesn’t become me, and, on the few occasions in the past, I tried to fight fire with fire, mean with mean, insult with insult, but I felt so much unlike myself that it was not even worth it. The trouble is, somehow the ratio of crazy to sane is sorely disproportionate in the horse world. The greatest, most unifying flaws in horse people character are, in my opinion, lack of humility, perspective and restraint, in the worst-case scenario they are vicious too. In general, I’ve found also, that those, who lay claim to being paragons of kindness and compassion, tend to be the worst kind of snakes, most proficient at inflicting hurt. I am no saint, but I simply can’t attack people, not even in retaliation. I don’t want to wound them, to hurt them using their shortcomings or insecurities. I just don’t, I can’t. CAN ANYONE RELATE? This leaves me feeling defenseless and without any recourse, short of avoidance. But being a horse gal, I don’t have the luxury of avoiding horse folks. Sigh. Anyways, I digressed. I’ll have to expatiate on all the reasons for which I dislike human kind in a separate blog entry, eponymously titled Misanthropy Misunderstood. 😀

Thanks for reading.

Blogging for affection..or..How to avoid the cat vomit curse!

humor, writing

IMG_7311.PNG if it’s not entirely obvious, I am new to the blogging endeavor. My original intention was to write for myself and for relief. I am afflicted, like many others I’m sure, with the trouble of excess thinking. Blogging presented an attractive avenue for relieving that pressure in my head, which gets built up by thoughts, feverishly multiplying with no regard for the spatial limitations of my dainty, girly cranium. Blogging whatever, whenever, but on a daily basis, seems also like a good writing exercise and a fun distraction not without therapeutic value.

Furthermore, I had devised a theory, that blogging every day could be a gateway mechanism to writing every day. It is simple enough right? To date, my creative process has been exclusively governed by fickle caprices of inspiration. I have been wholly at her frantic whim. What better tactic is there for revolt, than the establishment of a writing routine. If I could only form a daily ritual of writing, develop a habit, then maybe I can be free from inspiration’s mercurial clutches and finally finish that cursed book I’ve been writing for over five years. This was the plan, it was a good plan, until I started receiving the occasional “such & such has followed your blog” email. Those I did not anticipate, neither did I foresee the regrettable effect they would have on me. Suddenly I am confounded with the shameful realization that I want more of those emails. I thought I wouldn’t care about that element of blogging, the audience, but in all honesty, I find that I do. It has come as a surprise. It runs quite contrary to my Misanthropic conformation, presenting with the potential for a full-fledged identity crisis. Oh ok, ok, so I am exaggerating, not a full-fledged crisis, I am not that brittle, but it is very troubling. I now seek the approval of strangers?! Is that a pig soaring through the atmosphere?!

Suddenly I find myself concerned with such things, as whether the randomness of my writing runs counter to my new ambition of having/gaining readers, readers who “Like” “comment” and generally participate. Do I need to pick a lane? What is my ambition exactly anyways? Do I want all the readers I can get my hands on or do I want to reach and resonate with those who are most like myself e.g. the misanthropes, the misfits, the over thinkers, the creatives, the hermits? Trolling around WordPress this past week, I have found that lots of bloggers talk about the importance of a consistent blogging tone and subject, they even apologize to their readers if ever they opt to change their writing style. God knows that won’t and can’t be me. I will always reserve the right to unapologetically rant about whatever, whenever, however. Does that mean that I won’t be successful at finding an audience? Oy. Additionally, I wish bloggers who are about some kind of marketing, SEO or otherwise, would STOP “Following” me. I will not follow them back or subscribe to their services. It is a deceptive and intrusive practice and I completely hate it after just a week of my stay in the Bloggisphere. It is SPAM!

Bottom line is, if you read to this point, then obviously you find my prose irresistible, so you have to “Follow” my blog, OR ELSE….or else your cat will get a serious case of upset stomach and throw up partially digested mouse parts all over your house. A pungent stench of catguts will indelibly permeate your residence, forcing you to move out and decreasing the value of your home by at least 40% from its current market value…..or worse, rendering it entirely unsellable. That would be a real shame wouldn’t it? No one wants that to happen to you, less than I. ;P

 

On Sanity & Proximity

humor, writing

Proximity over Sanity? or The day I got yelled at and cried like a baby.

It became apparent to me today that I have traded my sanity for proximity. I want to warn you, in terms of entertainment value, this post is about as effective as a flat tire.  I don’t really want to burden you, reader, peruser or scanner, with the minutia of my daily life, but in this instance, it can’t be helped, as it is I who needs to unburden. And just as a disclaimer, I’d like to add that I too hate blogs where people discuss inconsequential occurrences in their day, like they are some universally relevant and relatable events. Be warned this thing falls under that peevish category.

To preface, I am a dedicated equestrian. I board at a facility with the unique advantage of extreme proximity. It is located no further than 4 miles from my home, which really means it’s magical. If you are not keeping your horses on your own property, and don’t live in the country, then you know what I mean, a centrally located barn is like the Chupacabra of the equestrian world. Furthermore, mine is reasonably priced, which is a miracle! So it’s both, magical and miraculous.

This barn’s inhabitants are an eclectic band of people and horses. It is overseen by two women, who live on the property, or quite literally in the barn, as they lodge in a structure attached to it. If one of them wasn’t big and the other one small, and if they didn’t have a gap of a few decades between them, they could quite literally be the same person. One owns it, the other one runs it. Both are about as hospitable as a flu, and entirely devoid of restraint, with a habit of raising their voices on a dime. I have learned from a few experiences here, that they are like hot skillets, as long as you don’t touch them, you’ll be ok….unless somehow one lunges itself at you of course (as it did at me today), then you are, quite frankly, fucked . The other trick to surviving here, in this viper’s nest of estrogen, conceit, gossip and bad manners, is to stay away from mostly everyone. Which is fine by me, since I am, by my own admittance, a bit of a misanthrope.

I try my best to be invisible, which is not hard, except that I am quite tall ;P. I don’t socialize, don’t partake in the chatter; and, since I am a night owl, I ride late and mostly alone.

Now to the meat of the matter. My horse’s stall is barely getting cleaned. In all the time me and her had been together, she had never been in a stall so disgusting or so menacing to the health of her feet. I don’t complain, this is not a barn where complains do anything other than come back at you in the form of tongue lashings. I try to do what I can when I can, and ward off abscesses with positive thinking.  Last night, I came to her around 8pm and noticed that the entirety of her feet was sunk into a swamp of waste. I got her out, worked her and, come 9, it became evident to me that I had to try and remedy the state of that stall. I got in there with one of those huge buckets, ruined my shoes and my clothes trying to muck out the mess and drain the soupier areas. I did the best I could in the dark. Having filled the bucket I realized that moving it was way beyond my physical capabilities. I did my best pulling it out of the way, reasoning that the stable hand, the guy who is supposed to do the mucking, will deal with it in the morning, using his god given male muscles. Now, it wasn’t something I readily expect of him, but he was my only option. I give him extra money rather frequently, we have a very friendly relationship. I intended to give him my profuse gratitude next time I saw him. Then I went to the giant pile of shavings and filled one poultry wheelbarrow, the cost of this action had been quoted to me at 20$ per wheelbarrow just 2 weeks ago when I used the shavings trying to yet again wrangle the sludge. Anyways blah blah blah, I did my best and left.

Today, first thing I did upon arrival at the barn, was I find one of the two governing bodies mentioned previously, shared with her my experience of muck in the dark, told her that I will, of course, add the cost of shaving from last night to my board check and asked if she had any ideas for a permanent solution. I assured her that I am willing to pay extra, if she feels that my stall is an extra bother, as long as it gets the attention it needs. With these people, I’ve realized, if you want something, you have to let them think it’s their idea. But moving on, yes, although it is already their job and responsibility to keep the stall clean, I offered extra money, in order not to let them think that I feel they are not doing their job. This story is getting too long even for me.

Following the conversation with the larger lady overlord, the other, small one, came up to me some half an hour later. The hot skilled was flung. Her exact words were:

“If you EVER leave a bucket full like that….

Me: “I am sorry I couldn’t move it and there was no one around to help me, I hoped M**** would move it in the morning, I dragged it away as far as I could..”

Her: “Well of course you couldn’t move it, and you shouldn’t expect anything of M*****”

Me: “I am pretty sure I already don’t, given the condition of my stall..and also I didn’t expect anything, I found myself in a unique situation, I misjudged my strength, there was no help. I knew M would do me the solid of taking care of it in the morning, I intended to thank him profusely, it was a singular occurrence, I didn’t mean any disrespect”

“ALL you do is disrespect me…!!!!!!!.”

“Huh? all I do?  disrespect you? What in the world are you talking about?! I am quiet as a mouse here, I have nothing to do with you and you never even see me”

“You try to come here and do these things when no one is looking at night…..”

“That’s ridiculous! Are you joking? Who says things like that to another person? I ride at night, I happened to see her in distress last night when i came just for a visit….”

“In distress? this is how it is for her every night..”

“Well then there is the problem!….”

She was beyond condescending and insulting. This senior, but quite sprightly, quite scary, lady was yelling at me, yes yelling, accusing me of what can only be described as underhanded behavior, like I am some thief, skulking around in the night, doing unseemly things when no one is looking. It’s asinine. My only, and singular concern, is always the well being of my horse. Tears started pouring down my face. It’s a real inconvenience, it makes me feel weak, plus I can’t see that well :P. I was emotional to a fault here, partly because the injustice was so great that I did not know how to address it. It was a full fledged assault on all that is my dignity. How do I respond? …. what do I say to accusations which are over nothing and based on nothing? It’s like adult bullying, I imagine if adults came at other adults with the intent of bullying them, this is how they would do it. Accuse someone of a scummy, intentional transgression, when the accused is, oh I don’t know, partaking in some innocent pastime, like feeding a hungry squirrel in the tree..or breathing.

The other reason for the tears was that I really could only respond with half of my conviction. And that’s incredibly hard for me, being as I am quite equipped verbally speaking. I had to swallow my words, whole sentences even, because despite everything, I am not ready to part with that god damn precious proximity

 If you read to this point, let me know in a comment, because congratulations, you are a paragon of patience. I would like a chance to properly applaud your steadfastness. Even I got bored with myself. Like I said earlier, writing this kind of thing is a bit of a crime. But it’s mighty cathartic! Maybe the fact that I Illustrated it with a scenic photograph will mitigate your disappointment, when I tell you, that there is no pay off. This is it. My horse lives in poo, I tried to fix it, ruined my shoes, got yelled at by a paranoid curmudgeonly old lady, cried like a baby, protested the injustice, went home and wrote a monster of a blog about it. Shoot me…with a marshmallow gun, I bruise like a peach.

Update: If you want to know what happened just a few short days later, please read: Revolt, escape, freedom..or..Reclamation of Sanity! I promise it’s riveting, life changing even. Dang, I’m such a liar. 😛