Two posts about my maudlin pre-spring behavior in a row, Jesus. It’s probably time for a vacation.
There are two types of people who fuck with my head most righteously. One is the cute person who has no idea they are cute, one is the cute person who KNOWS they are cute. The first, I can usually dismiss, because they’re usually so disconnected from sexuality that I don’t even know if they have genitals. I assume that in their ideal world, they’d just run around like the Eloi, gently humping on everything and then falling asleep. The second though… the second has barbs on it.
I was recently at an event, and a cute person was nearby. She began, to put it bluntly… fucking with me. Not because she was interested, but because she could tell that she could. I don’t think there was any malice in it, she was simply interested in why I was acting so oddly, but it continued for several hours, and I have found myself thinking about it.
Most of the time, people think I’m normal. They look at me and see all the earmarks of a functional social being. They don’t see how much effort goes into projecting that, nor do they spend too much time scratching at it to see if it holds up. And as long as our interactions are fleeting and shallow, they never seem to notice. I look them in the eye, we shoot the shit about the weather, I drink my beer, I ask the right questions when they talk about their day, and I usually leave before they notice that I’ve been drinking too much for too long, or that after we get through the cycle of bullshit questions, I tend to want to start them again, for fear I’ll let something real slip. But every now and then, someone will see under the mask. I’ll get too drunk, or I’ll think I like them, or maybe I’ll just be too tired to be the right kind of fake that day. Maybe they are just paying more attention than most (that was the case this time). And then, like a scab or paint chip, they almost always want to pick at it and see what is underneath.
Now, I’m not gonna be so dramatic as to say that once they’ve peeled back the mask they recoil like I’m the Phantom of the Opera. It would be cool if that were the case, if I were so repugnantly weird under my skin that it sent people flying away shrieking. I’d probably do it more often, and I’d most certainly buy a real mask. I’d run around like a fully fledged sociopath, inflicting my weirdness on others in choreographed moments. Take them to the brink of intimacy and then show them my scars. Sadly, the truth is : I’m just kind of boring. I get caught up in my own head. I spend most of my time alone. Sometimes I get caught in a mood where all I do is watch the same TV show for six hours at a time. There are days when I talk to myself out loud just because I can’t remember the last time I heard my voice – To practice the art of it. Make sure when I need to lie – to pretend that yesterday I didn’t lay awake half the night thinking about something stupid I did in high school, to pretend like my real concern of the day was the stock market and not that I feel fractionally more fat than the day before – that I still can.
And when someone interrupts my flow, when they “fuck with me”, they send me back to that place. I’m no longer just normal Aaron, drinking a beer and laughing. I’m now being forced to calculate, to think, I’m back in my head, watching me at 17 bolt out of a room because the emotions got too intense, my girlfriend having to chase me down the street where I was incapable of explaining why I had left. Watching me at 20 get told I am an idiot. Watching me at 25 realizing for the first time I can’t remember what intimacy feels like. And there’s always that fear that once I’m off balance, once I’m off my game… everyone will see behind the mask. And then what?