Sometimes after I’ve been with friends at a party or something and I’m on the subway on the way home, leaning on my arm and glancing around under drooping eyelids at the other 11:00 subway riders, I feel like I’m waking up from a bout of schizophrenia. My mouth feels sore with laughing at jokes that weren’t even funny. Half of the time they were about someone I knew who had the bad fortune not to be there at the time. But it’s just hanging out and what does it really matter?
See, usually I would be disgusted with gossip. But I don’t know that it’s easy to stay entirely lucid when I’m with a group of my peers where everyone just acts a certain way and that’s the way things are. I can compare it with being intoxicated with expectations, like the way someone can become intoxicated with alcohol.
I don’t have a split personality that can excuse my actions but often I act like I do. And I don’t believe in being content with myself if I act rather malicious in one group, no matter how normal that may seem.
Perhaps for me this is more difficult than for other people because I would be the last person ever to volunteer to give a speech or to do anything that would make me stand out. It’s just a type of cowardice I guess, but just because it’s uncomfortable to do something that’s going to make me stand out like telling someone, “Come on, don’t talk like that,” when they’re saying something cruel about someone else, doesn’t give me any sort of excuse to not do it. Because I believe that I can’t let expectations make me into someone I would never want to be.
I was with some friends at the National Theatre in Bucharest, sitting around doing nothing, when a gypsy guy walked up, probably twenty or so in tattered clothes and reeking of alcohol. He started to mutter some sort of drunken monologue, and everyone began laughing, like it was the funniest thing ever. And I laughed to, all the harder when someone threw a bottle at him and yelled insults at him. It was horrible, a spectacle that probably made us look worse than him.
It’s not like I thought it was funny at all, it turned my stomach actually. But like I said before I was intoxicated with expectations and since seeming callous was necessary and doing something like getting up and leaving would have made me stand out, I played along. And I can’t just pass it off as the way those people act and the way I act around them and pretend it wasn’t actually me, because it was me.
I can’t brush that sort of thing off, like it doesn’t leave a stain. I believe that I am entirely responsible for my actions and that even if it’s painful, it’s necessary to be different.
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