Posted on Friday, December 26th, 2008 at 4:27 am
Author: Ali Eteraz
Lonely people like to believe that animals don’t think for themselves. This makes it easier to convince yourself that all the seagulls in the world all share one brain between them. This, in turn, makes it easier to tell myself that the seagull I encountered when I was lonely in Boston eleven years ago is the same being with whose company I am graced right now, sitting next to a lake in the deep South eleven years later.
Such a belief gives me the illusion that I have companionship and I no longer feel lonely. Undoubtedly upon reading this the zealous believers will say: “Instead of seagulls why not seek the companionship of God for He is always with you.” My reply is that it is infinitely easier to get rid of a seagull when in a few minutes I want to be alone again.
Popular people – i.e. those that are able to convince themselves that others think highly of them – generally believe that lonely people are very unhappy and devoid of mirth. This is a convenient fiction they’ve drawn up in order to continue lying to themselves. In fact, lonely people laugh more often than popular people, and over far less. I, for example, a lonely F.O.B., laughed heartily when I wrote the previous passage because I realized that for all that I am not, and all that I pretend I am not, I am still fairly interesting.
I am even laughing as I write this because by virtue of being alone I am able to watch a stray cat hunt a bug in the grass and then munch on it.
It would appear that at the far edge of this lake there is a raised stone platform where someone has been leaving china plates full of cat food. This means that the cat which I thought was a stray is actually on welfare.
There are two kind of ducks in this lake and the smaller ones leave a massive v-shaped wake behind them, like the train of a haughty bride. Meanwhile, the wake left by the bigger ducks is far straighter, shorter and less interesting.
This observation doesn’t lead me to the conclusion that “size doesn’t matter.” Rather, I feel that there must be something wrong with me for being incapable of finding inspiration in straight lines. This realization leads to the terrifying proposition that over the course of my life I must have have found quite a lot of the world – which is composed of many straight lines – to be less than interesting. This disrespect to the beauty of the world makes me dislike myself.
I just remembered that this lake is the same one where a girl I once had a crush on – and who shunned me – lost her virginity. It wasn’t I who deflowered her. It was a guy who thereafter converted to Islam. One can only speculate what she did to him that rather than continuing to worship her divine form he opted for a religion where a mere touch from her would be considered a sin.
I used to resent not being able to be the one whom she wanted to show her wares. But now I realize that by having been shunned by her I was actually able to avoid getting afflicted with the fundamentalism that captured the other guy for many years.
Indeed, fundamentalism, which many young guys adopt after premature engagement with sexuality, has got to be worst STD in the world. With all the other diseases you are the one who suffers most. With fundamentalism its everyone around you.
I never thought the day would come when I would be at peace over how my crush rejected me.
When I left for this lake this morning I didn’t know why I wanted to come here or what I would do once I arrived. On top of that, on the way, I ran out of gas and had to face the fact that I had no cash and no money in my bank account.
When the yellow dashboard light came on my immediate reaction was to make a U-turn. However, then I told myself that I would not turn back and continue onward and use my debit card at the gas pump and let the account go into negative and then accept the penalty that the bank would add for going into the red.
At the moment this decision seemed like a particularly stupid one. I couldn’t help but think of all those people in the world who rebuke me for being bad with money, or who criticize me for putting writing before security. It particularly reminded me of all those people who constantly antagonize me for leaving the practice of law in order to become a “writer.” Thoughts of how they would natter over my head and nabob negatively made me shiver.
But now that I am at the lake and have written something that no one else in the world could have composed I am calm. In fact, as I read over all the debt-financed thoughts I was able to have, I can’t help but laugh.
Is my laughter worth the 34 dollars to fill up the tank and a 36 dollar penalty?
In a world where people are committing suicide when they go into the red I think the answer is yes.
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