Cheryl Strayed ended her best selling memoir "Wild" with three sentences that have always resonated with me. "It was my life- like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was, to let it be."
I've always loved that. Not only is it a great piece of writing, I just really identify with the words. They move me. They make me search inside myself. The only thing I would add, after irrevocable and sacred, is weird.
For some reason I've spent the last couple weeks thinking about just how weird I am. And then I wonder, and I've been wondering a lot lately, are other people weird like me? So I grabbed a notepad and started jotting down some of the stranger things I've done over the last few weeks. If I hit publish at the end of this post, I'll surprise myself.
I am normally a pretty calm guy. I'm very good under pressure, and rarely lose my temper. But, you put me behind the wheel of a car and I become a mad man. Put me behind the wheel of a car by myself, where I know nobody can see me, and I become a raving lunatic. For instance, I bought a new car a few weeks ago. I was driving down a two lane residential road when I noticed the car coming toward me weave into my lane. I immediately throw a hand up and start yelling, "Are you kidding me?" That is apparently my go to road rage sentence. Then, as we get closer I see the girl is staring at her phone at the top of the steering wheel, trying to type into it as she drives, hoping that by putting it at the top of the wheel she will see if she weaves into the oncoming lane, which she didn't. Now I'm yelling, "You have got to be fucking kidding me!" And throwing both hands up. I slow down, she looks up, and jerks the wheel back into her lane. I pass her and launch into a tirade. I'm now screaming at this girl and explaining how stupid she is for texting and driving, and that stupidity has caused her to crash into my brand new car. This goes on for like five minutes until I realize that she actually didn't hit my car. My pulse is racing at this point, my face is flushed, and then I start laughing at myself. I just lectured some girl who I'll never meet because she almost hit my car for five minutes.
I am deathly afraid of frogs. I can't figure out why, though. I have a distant memory of being dropped off at my parents best friends house to be babysat by their oldest son, and all of us, including my brother and the girl I grew up with watched a movie about killer frogs. But, I can't find that movie anywhere. I've searched for it on the internet a few times but think I may have made that memory up. Not that it matters because after a good rain it's not uncommon for a frog to be on my front stoop. And I always shine my flashlight (if I'm working) or the headlights to my car on the front stoop to check. If there is a killer frog there, I'll stand five feet away and throw mulch at it, sticks, or anything I can get my hands on. I even sprayed a stubborn one with a quick burst of pepper spray. They freak me out.
I watched a documentary on Wal-Mart five years ago and have tried not to shop there since. It wasn't unbiased, but either way I felt it laid out a good argument on how evil Wal-Mart is. I have bought maybe three things from them since I watched that movie. And those three things were because Wal-Mart was the only place that had what I needed. Keep in mind I live in Georgia, and there are four Wal-Mart supercenters and two neighborhood markets within ten square miles of my house. And I know that my little boycott isn't denting their profit margin. But I'm awfully proud that I don't shop there.
Since my divorce I've been in maybe five or six relationships. When I'm in a committed relationship, I always shave my face starting on the left side and working my way right. When I'm not in a relationship, I always start somewhere new. Sometimes I'll start with my chin. Sometimes my upper lip. Sometimes my cheek, or my neck.
One of my favorite things to do is to go out to lunch by myself with a good book. I look forward to and plan these lunch dates by myself. I will usually leave my phone in the car, bring in my book and just enjoy lunch with whatever book I'm reading.
After my divorce in 2007, if I met a girl in a social situation or on a first or second date, I've purposely quoted a movie or song lyric in conversation to see if she would pick up on it. And it's usually a gangster rap lyric, or some obscure movie quote. In the ten or fifteen, (or probably more than that) times I've done it, only one girl picked up on it. (And she ended up being crazy and faked cancer, but that's a post for a another day) Some of the good ones have been:
We weren't getting served by the bartender. She went to the bathroom and I had finally got us a couple beers. She asked what I did to finally get the attention of the bartender. I said, "Give someone a rap on the beezer around her and you get some respect." That was from the movie Tombstone. She didn't get it.
This girl was going on about the drug problem. I wasn't really paying attention to be honest. In a break I offered, "Both black and white are smoking crack tonight." From Tupac's, Changes, probably his most famous song. I never saw her again.
On a first date, we got into a deep conversation about how hard my real job can be. She was asking how I deal with some of the horrible things I see. This one just kinda happened. "I gotta hold on to my angst. I preserve it because I need it. It keeps me sharp, on the edge, were I gotta be." That was from one of my favorite movies, HEAT, and as soon as I got home I watched that scene to see if I got it right. I did, including the times Al Pacino snaps his fingers.
This one completely backfired on me. To be honest I'd probably had too much to drink. I think it was a second date, maybe a first, but we were talking about money. Somehow I had said, "The money I make so I can add to my riches, fill the stash box and start rubbing my gat, feeling good as hell because my pockets are fat." That's from Eazy-E. She didn't think it was funny as I did.
Lastly, I once told a nice lady as we were leaving, "Yo, take care of that body," as a joke. (From the movie Menace To Society) She didn't pick up on it, or like it to be honest.
There are plenty of others, but you get the point.
When I was writing these down, while they made me giggle I realized that my master plan of inserting quotes hasn't worked like I thought after my divorce. (that's when I started doing this) I went out on a first date last week and it never occurred to me to try this. Granted, we had some great conversation and my mind wasn't wandering, but I think it's time to set this challenge down.
Lastly, for every fiction book I read, I read one non-fiction. I started this a year ago. To be completely honest, I love fiction. I really do. I could read made up stories non-stop and be happy. But, I was listening to Dave Ramsey's podcast one day and he was talking about how smarter you would be if you read 12 non-fiction books a year. For some reason that resonated with me. So now, even though I love fiction books, I force myself to read a non-fiction one after. I don't think I'm any smarter. But I sure do feel more educated, if that makes sense.
So that's me, in all my weirdness. And I'm a weirdo. Just in this post alone I talk about how I'm afraid of frogs, but am proud about all the non-fiction books I've read. I've talked about how I like to insert gangster rap lyrics into first dates, and refuse to shop at the Wal-Mart because of what they have done to small business. I try to shave differently when I'm single, and I have some horrible road rage.
My life is sacred, mysterious, irrevocable, and weird. My life is very much belonging to me. The real difference between me and Cheryl Strayed, I'm not ready to leave it be.
I've still got some rap lyrics and movies to quote.