Thursday, March 17, 2016


When I was a kid my mom used to have to tell me to go put my book away. I would bring a book everywhere I went so I could hide away in it when I started to feel isolated from the people I was around. Interestingly enough, now that I'm all grown up people are doing what I did when I was a kid. We constantly have our faces glued to a screen. After a meal everyone whips out their phone and starts taking selfies, and snap-chats, and checking Instagram, looking at memes or Facebook or texts. We've started paying at stores with our phones. On them we can instantly communicate with anyone in the world. I've started bringing my books with me to social situations again, since its better for my mind than a phone is.
I have deliberately stayed away from the iphones. Already I am addicted to technology when I am at home, where my computer serves as a T.V., and outlet for writing and an endless resource of knowledge. I know that if I had a little square thing in my pocket that gave me all the info in the world, I would stop paying attention to what is right in front of me. It is the curse and the blessing of my generation.
A co-worker is meeting up with her friends on the internet; they just made a group, saying they were all cool with each other, and now they're close enough to meet and feel comfortable. Two of my very good friends I met on online school and I plan to start online college too.
Did you know you could get any song you want to listen to on the internet?
Do you know you can shop online, and they will ship it straight to your door?
Have you played online games?
I always feel the most alone when I am surrounded by people. I don't understand what anyone is saying; it's like there's some filter in my ears that alters what people say, where I hear a word and I don't recognize it. Someone will say one thing and I will understand another. In crowded places I feel overwhelmed, like the colors and the voices and smells are pressing in around me, surrounding me, drowning me out.
I have a mask of kindness I use when I am uncomfortable, where I resort to a million smiles and "thank you" and empty phrases. I figure most people won't dislike me if I stay completely civil. Never under any circumstances will I show my true colors, because almost immediately I will get slewed with "you're weird," or "you little baby," or "you're such a hippie." I know these things are true about me, and I know the people who say them mean no harm by it. But I don't hear those words when they are said to me; I hear, "I don't understand you, and therefore I'm not going to try to."
Meanwhile we talk. "How are your classes going?" "How was your trip?" "Look at this video on my phone." "My dog tore up my room." "I ate at this restaurant, you should try it,"
"Can you believe what she just said?"
"That kid needs to get his life together."
"If that baby screams one more time, so help me..."
Meanwhile my brain is spiraling at a million miles a second, whirling around and around the question. You ask how my trip was, and I think about how sullen and selfish America seems now that I've returned. I think of people who live with piles of trash and swarms of flies, yet who live thankful and peaceful lives with their families. I think about how your dinner last night could have fed four people. I think about how my heart longs to get out, go see Ethiopia and Ukraine and Morocco and Japan and Russia and Mongolia and South Africa and Peru, and how my life is slowly burning away while I stand still. But I tell you about the camels and the ruins we visited, because you won't understand.
What is normal? Is this empty talk normal, these pointless phrases that get us nowhere, this need to talk without meaning anything? Is normal high-heels and make up, to lie about how tall we are and lie about what we look like? To dress to hide our fat and point out our curves? To talk about football and movies and work, but not about our fights with our spouses or the depression in our mind?
Perhaps normal is an assembly line of society; they put make-up on your face, they dye your hair and put ideas into your head that you're supposed to believe. Go get a job, go get a spouse, go get a home and stay out of trouble. We are the generation of constant bombardment of ads on T.V., while we drive, on the web. We see them so often we forget they are nothing but a pack of lies. Women are not meant to look like that. Drinking a coke will not make you infinitely happy and those very believable attractive people are actors who were paid for their opinion. We are constantly buying and selling and dressing and thinking on a pack of lies. That is normal.
Maybe normal is what everyone wants to be but what no one truly is. When I was in middle-school my friend called me weird, and I said, "I know." I was exhausted trying to behave in a way I simply didn't know how to, and I wanted a friend who didn't expect me to. I have too many flaws to pretend they don't exist, and I have too many odd thoughts for some of them not to escape me. Why should I pretend to be normal, once I realize that everyone is pretending?