Tag Archives: relationships

Is it Just Me or Are You Crazy?

“Look at me,” said Birdie. Lunatics Welcome

Gerald turned and stared at her. “What am I looking for?”

“Do I have a neon sign hovering above me that says, Lunatics, welcome?” Birdie pointed toward her head.

“Not that I can see. Maybe if you’d step over by the window,” said Gerald. “Why?”

“Well, you know how it is when things happen to you that if you were the star of a sit-com, it would be funny, but since you’re the star of your life, it’s not funny, and it doesn’t get worked out in a half-hour? Well, that’s the sort of stuff that’s happening to me,” said Birdie.

She shook her head. “I must have Crazy-bait hanging around my neck. I’ve looked, and I don’t see it, but it must be there. I guess only the Crazies can see it, anyway, but if things keep on going like they have been, I’ll be able to see it before long because I’ll be crazy, too.”

“Settle down,” said Gerald. “A mind is a pretty easy thing to misplace. Just make sure you keep track of yours.”

“I’m trying. But why are the nut-cases congregating around me? I try not to encourage them. Is it my aura? Do I have a crazy aura? See, they’re already having an effect on me. Only kooks use words like aura. I don’t think I’ve ever used the word aura before.”

“Oh, you might have used it before. That doesn’t mean anything,” said Gerald.

“I don’t understand what draws them to me. It can’t be my welcoming vibe. My vibe is distinctly unwelcoming. I’ve made it a point to be unwelcoming. You know how unwelcoming I can be.” Birdie’s voice rose.

“I can’t fault you on your industry in that area,” said Gerald nodding his head.

“Seriously, I’ve gone from just an occasional, intermittent Crazy-encounter to three bona fide, constant Crazies in the last six months.” Birdie held up three fingers and waved them at Gerald. “From NO full-time Crazies to THREE full-time Crazies. That’s a 300% increase, if my math is correct. Even if my math’s not correct, it’s too much.”

“If you’re going to start talking about math, then maybe you have gone ’round the bend,” said Gerald. “Just think. Our math teacher was right when she told us we would use percentages in our everyday life.”

Birdie sat slumped in her recliner. “When it was just intermittent Crazies I could rely on my go-to strategy which is, run like the wind, but you can’t do that when the crackpots are integrated into your daily life. You can’t run from your life no matter how insane it gets.”

“Sometimes, when they’re in the midst of all their lunacy and sharing it with me as if I had asked them to, I’d like to just call a spade a spade, or in this case, call a nut-job a nut-job. I’d like to say, That’s the goofiest thing I’ve ever heard. ” She ran her fingers through her short hair in a quick dismissive gesture.

Birdie leaned her head back and exhaled loudly. “But I can’t, because what my mama taught me shakes its finger in my face. ’Birdie, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.’ Personally, I tend to believe that if you can’t say something nice, it’s because there’s nothing nice to say, but I keep my mouth shut and practically get a cramp from the involuntary eye rolling that I have to suppress.” She closed her eyes in sympathetic response as she mumbled something about everybody and his duck being absolutely bonkers.

Gerald took the lap quilt that Birdie had pulled up to her chin and tucked it in around her. “There, there, my little loony tune. Save some crazy for another day.”

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Birdie, Bread, and Life

“What had happened to her thoughts?” Birdie wondered. They were swimming listlessly, round and round, like dying goldfish. No luster. No verve. Birdie had definitely misplaced her verve.

She blamed it on trying to be nice, which was an ill-fitting uniform that Birdie had tried to wear. Birdie had always judged herself as innately kind, and had never worried about being nice. In Birdie’s mind there was a distinct difference. However, with some people, being nice was the only currency that you could spend.

So, Birdie had made an effort to become consciously aware of her interactions with others. Some well meaning persons had pointed out that tact was not Birdie’s strong suit. Maybe they hadn’t actually said those very words, but that’s what they meant. They had said something like, “I wish I had the courage to be as direct as you are.” Then they gave a little laugh. It was definitely a criticism dressed up to look like a compliment. Birdie wasn’t fooled.

So she worked on changing. Instead of interacting instinctively, she had become mindful. No, make that tentative, concerning her words and actions. And she had turned into white bread.

Birdie didn’t want to be white bread. White bread was okay for some things, like when you wanted a Braunschweiger sandwich or a ketchup sandwich, but you shouldn’t even be eating those things. She wanted to be that 21-grain bread she got from Serious Delights Bakery. Or even Russian rye. Even better–that demi-baguette with the sesame and poppy seeds.

Yes, demi-baguette was better all around. Chewy and flavorful. With seeds that became lodged in your teeth, sure, but seeds that served as a reminder of how delicious your encounter with the demi-baguette had been. She definitely wanted to be a demi-baguette. And who ever said a demi-baguette wasn’t nice? Nobody, that’s who. Nobody who was right.

How to get back her demi-baguette? Stop being thoughtful and considerate and all the other ways that seemed the ways one should be when relating to others? Birdie didn’t want to run rough-shod over anyone’s feelings. That wouldn’t be the way. A demi-baguette wouldn’t do that. But, a demi-baguette would be itself. How could it not? It would make you work a little harder for its deliciousness. It’s toothy-ness. It’s nutty goodness. It would be worth it. It wouldn’t be stubborn or recalcitrant, just chewy.

Demi-baguettes didn’t worry that they weren’t more like white bread, or that they weren’t the first choice of people who preferred white bread–people who don’t want the bread to play any real part in their life’s sandwich. People who have become so de-sensitized that they don’t realize that white bread turns into sticky gobs of mucilage when you chew it. People who are still eating like children, whining about having crust on their bread.

Birdie would be a demi-baguette. She would be the bread that was the perfect complement to rare roast beef, cheese, or real butter, with soup or stew or all by itself. The bread that you find yourself thinking about later. Wishing you had some more. And she would be the demi-baguette, not the baguette. The baguette was too much, and it came without seeds. A demi was just enough for one or two people at a time. And the seeds made it perfect for only certain people. Not everybody. Yep. Birdie–the demi-baguette.

Mmm, mmm, good.

Mmm, mmm, good.

Birdie and the Alien Blues

“You can say things to a girlfriend,” thought Birdie, “that if you said them to your husband, he would just look at you as if you were an alien from another planet.”

He wouldn’t begin to understand, but it wouldn’t keep him from interpreting it as an assessment concerning his lack of manly charms, manly prowess, manly good looks, manly business acumen, or just general manliness. At that point, you have to either leave him thinking that you find him less than manly as a result of your saying something like, “It’s Monday again. (Sigh!)” or you can explain until your head falls off, that you are suffering from a slight case of the blues, and this general malaise has been settling down over you for a while, but you didn’t want to say anything because you assumed you would get over it and anyway, you knew you didn’t have a reason in the world to feel down and felt a little guilty even thinking that way as your life was really 200% wonderful–more wonderful than anybody else’s life that you knew about–and so what was there to feel down about, for Pete’s sake? And furthermore, you hated it when other people said they were bored because you always thought, well, do something different then. Quit being bored. But here you were. just a little bored with your life. (How horrible to say it out loud.) Not that you wanted anything less than you had, God forbid, but you just yearned for something different, and you felt powerless to change it. You knew that you were a pitiful, pathetic slug. And then he would finally understand. He would realize it was because you thought he lacked manliness.Not so with a girlfriend. She would listen and say, ” I know. I’ve felt like that, too. And I think my butt’s too big.”

Oh, me, too!” you reply, delighting in the comfort of hearing your native tongue. And then you plan to go for a Coke or browsing antiques stores, or for a walk, or anything. It doesn’t really have to be different. It just has to be something to do together so you can talk.

“Of course,” thought Birdie, ” you don’t want your husband to say the things your girlfriend would say. That would just be weird. You want him to hug you and say, “It’s going to be ok, Babe. Have you lost weight? You look thinner.”