Another Day, Another Blog

So far, nothing about this blog is very different or very good, for that matter.  It is another person writing down her personal thoughts that might not be of any interest to anyone else.  Or maybe they are.

Blogs are interesting to me because there are so many thoughts floating across the internet.  A person writes about a topic that interests them or just writes about their day or about any random thing that runs through their mind.  It is interesting to see what talents that others have to share or what opinion they want to express.

People fascinate me.  I say all the time, “I collect people,” –not in a creepy way, like in my basement.  I mean that I am infatuated with people and what makes them tick, how they think, and why they choose to act the way that they do.  Some think that they are not making choices about their actions, but for the most part, I don’t believe that’s true.  Sometimes a human being is acting purely out of instinct, but that is more rare than you might think.  Most of the time, our actions are premeditated. The pre-frontal cortex is fully activated and making executive decisions. Our past experiences definitely do have a role in our decisions about behaviors.

Lack of action is also a decision, most of the time.  Except in that rare occasion when a person is in the “freeze” mode when feeling threatened, not doing anything is making a decision as well. It is unusual to think about behavior in this way.  It is the perfect defense.  “I didn’t do anything!”  How many times has that sentenced been uttered as a proof of innocence, when it could be considered proof of guilt.  Sometimes it is important to “do something” and be involved in the stream of life.

I had a call earlier today.  My friend asked, “What are doing?”  My reply was, “Nothing really.”  That wasn’t true.  What I was doing was not cleaning my house, not going to the cable company, not mowing my yard, not going to the grocery store, not getting ready for my upcoming beach trip, and not participating in my life today.  I was actively being inactive.

It was Friday and my day off work.  As an introvert, it is my day of the week when I don’t talk to anyone unless I choose to answer the phone.  I try to to see anyone either.  I catch up on the television shows or movies from the past week and play computer games. I also do hours on end of mindless internet searches and read news from around the world and blogs about any imaginable topic.  I devour books and binge watch television series.  It is not pretty. It is necessary for me to take a day every week to let the myself go and refuel my internal batteries.  It makes it possible for me to do what I need to do the other 6 days a week.  My inactivity is a very deliberate behavior.

Coming from a family with a strong work ethic, this seems like a huge waste of time.  I often feel guilty for my indulgences.  I berate myself for it. But then I read something about the plight of the introverts in the world, and I let it go.  Tomorrow will come and I will be back among the living.  I will be back in the stream of life. But not today!

Bill

Wild Bill. I hadn’t thought about him for months–not until I started participating in a writing challenge. Bill is a character in himself. He is the riddle wrapped in an enigma. My infatuation for him ran deep and left a permanent mark. He still fascinates me. I hope he always fascinates me. When I am an old woman near the end of my life, I want to think about Bill and sigh a little and smile about the guy who created a place in my memory and left a bookmark so I could access it anytime.

Bill is such a big character that he overwhelms people. Others feel at awe in his presence. He doesn’t know. He is racked with self-doubt and at times, self loathing. He’s been to the edge many times, and has come back to safe ground. There was a very bleak time in his life, when he really thought he was going crazy. He was actually. He experienced hallucinations, both auditory and visual, days on end of mania with no sleep that were filled with some of the most amazing art work he had ever completed, and then the deep, dark, doldrums that kept him out of public for days and sometimes weeks. It exhausted him. He would finally get to the point of suicide and would be hospitalized.

Hospitalization meant that the darkness would be followed by a light, at least a flicker and a glimmer. It meant new medications or combinations of medications to help him manage symptoms. It meant that he would be questioned and watched around the clock with little privacy and feeling defeated and ashamed. Finally, he would feel better and stabilize and have energy and purpose again. It was more difficult each time to go to the hospital, but each stay was shorter than the last and the symptomatic episodes were less intense and didn’t last as long and farther apart. He hated having to admit that he was “still sick” and have to go back, but it always helped. When I met Bill, he had not been hospitalized in more than 4 years. This is a fact that he told me during our first encounter. He also told me his life story, the basics anyway.

Bill talked for more than an hour to a stranger on a bench in a park because she walked up to him and asked a question. Well, maybe this is Bill; maybe he does this with everyone he meets. Nope! I know other people who had known him for years. These people had actual relationships with him—some state of a relationship anyway. Some thought that they were relatively close. They did not know the things he had told me in one afternoon on the first day we met. If his name came up and I made some statement about where he grew up or his sisters or his past life as a hospital photographer documenting surgeries among his duties, they would stop and look at me in amazement. “He told you that? Really? Wow, I’ve known him for (insert number here) years, and I didn’t know that.” It was like they had seen some anomaly that they couldn’t quite wrap their brains around. It’s like watching a dog cuddling with a porcupine. It’s weird and a little unbelievable. But it was true.

Somehow, I think he knew that it would be our only really important conversation. We never talked like that again. I should say, he never talked like that again. He would let me see photos of his art work and granddaughter on his myspace page. He even put some pictures of his tattoos on there. One was his birthday.

I already knew he was an Aquarius. He didn’t tell me. I told him and I was right. He said that everyone always gets his sign wrong. I knew better. I’m not usually great at picking those kind of things, but I swear I’ve known him before—past life, alternate reality, something. But I knew him, and I know him now. If I walked up to him today, I would know him from the inside out. I don’t know why he became so important to me. My life wouldn’t be different if I had not met him.  However, I’m sure it would be a little less interesting.