Sunday, December 10, 2006

Saturday Night

Showered, getting dressed last night. Wasn't sure what my plans would be, just decided to go out, maybe take in a movie or something. Guy comes by, asks, "You have any plans for tonight?"
"Nothing specific."
"You want to go out?"
"Alright. What do you have in mind?"
"Your call."
"I dunno. You wouldn't go to town, right?
"No. How about taking a stroll, we can go to the old city."
"Pick me up on your way out, then."

Had a feeling this was one of those "Save His Soul" missions, but figured wth. So we went. Got down to the old city, picked up a few beers, and sat down to chat.

"So, who's the odd man out it your family: you or your brother?"
"I wouldn't say either of us are. I guess we are different, but we get along well and respect each other."
"It just seems, he's well, I don't know him too well, but he doesn't seem like the professional type. He is not in college like you are."
"So? He's working hard and accomplishing in his field and I in mine. We don't have to compare."
"Fair enough. What do your parents think?"
"About our lifestyle choices? My parents don't insist on any given way of life for us. Just that we should be working hard toward something we want and be successful at it."
"So if you're happy, they're happy?"
"I guess you might say that."
"And if you're not happy they are not happy."
"I suppose that kind of follows."
"So what?"
"So are ya happy?
"But you're not... You... Well, a while back I switched schools. I got to the new school wearing my jeans, sneakers, colored shirt. My father's a butcher, I didn't know better. The school didn't announce its dress code, and I wasn't trying to make a statement, but I realized I stood out from everyone else - the way they were dressed. It took me three years, but I learned that you don't have to flaunt your differences."
"It's a shame you learnt your lesson so well."
"Why is that?"
"Well, it might not be fun to always flaunt your differences and have to fend off all the flack you get, but it is also uncomfortable to stay in hiding about yourself."
"There's a middle ground between flaunting and hiding. Let me take for example the pictures you hung up on your wall. Especially that one with the - I can't even tell if it's a boy or a girl - with the bleeding eye and skull ring. What is that for?"
"I thought it was interesting."
"It looks like you want to make a statement."
"What statement do you think it makes?"
"I thought it just looks like you are trying to make a statement. That's the statement."
"Really? I just thought it would be nice to have some decorations on my walls. Instead of them just being bland. It's like a conversation-starter."

We walked around a bit more, found a restroom, and then continued. Passed a bagel shop, and went in for a bite to eat.

"You want to get a bagel?" he asked.
"Not really, but I don't mind if you do," I answered.
"Alright, how about a poppyseed with cream cheese and lox. You think they speak English?"
"Yah, but not well."
"I see I got you, you're having a bagel too."
"Yah, while we're here anyway."
"You know, it's been several months since I quit smoking. I smoked for 7 years. Wouldn't mind a cigarette now, but it's not what I really want."
"I shouldn't understand what you said, but I do."
"Yah. Quitting smoking is like life: what you think you want for the moment is sometimes not what you really want."

Gotta go. I'll try to continue this sometime. Any comments?


Papke said...

It’s frightening in way; to look at the things you desire and not see anything that you really want. It reminds me of the spoiled child who, no matter how much is given to them, is never satisfied. And it makes me wonder: How do you know when you have found what it is that you are really looking for, and not just something else that you think you want?

trixies86 said...

I don't think ya gotta flaunt your differences either, if its not a big deal fit in. if it is a big deal then do what you want. the pict on your wall isn't a problem. its not like its on your shirt.

Teddy Douglas said...

Papke - yah, I agree. It's tough to distinguish what you desire with what you really want because it is best for you. I find there is also semantic problem here with the word want; it lacks an explicit denotation.
Trix - i think you are right. There is no need to flaunt differences, but I enjoy the lighthearted banter over issues - political, religious, or philosophical - and if I come out seeming more liberal or different than most, it can be divisive in some less tolerant circles. I didn't think my picts would bother anyone, though I did anticipate a reaction. It was, in a way, the point. Not to provoke or stand out, but to provoke thought. There are no other pictures on any walls in the apartment except one Rabbi in the living room. How about a bit of variety?

But what I think was so interesting was the way my friend went about his "mission". He kind of beat around the bush, trying to imply the propriety of changing my ways without offending or stepping on my toes.

Skeleton said...

Godawfully overused cliche 'to be to thineself true' (or something like that), but whyever not?

Pigeons and rats need to be tagged to tell them apart. People aren't. We're different, all of us. So why try hiding that by conglomerating into a homogeneous mass?

I think something you really want is something you won't regret having shortly afterwards. Not every desire is meant to be a long-term decision.