02 October 2005

when you're a stranger

by Cecily
My third-grade teacher didn't let us use the word "weird." She said it meant "creepy" and "spooky" and "supernatural," and that all of us third-graders really wanted to express the idea related to the word "strange." Her name was Mrs. Wiggins. She was pretty old, I thought, but then again I was only 8 so what did I know.

I still feel a little guilty whenever I describe something as "weird" when I know Mrs. Wiggins would say it was merely odd. But I'm not as convinced as she was that those are two separate things, weirdness and strangeness.

Anyway, it's pretty weird to be back in school. I spend a lot of time in my bedroom, working on things and staring out the window. When I lived in Minnesota, I used to spend a lot of time staring out the window. Way more time than I do now, in fact, but it was qualitatively different staring. I had no goals. I wasn't trying to think of a word, and I wasn't taking a break from hard cognitive labor. I was just sitting there on the couch, staring out the window.

Now when I stare out the window it's only for a few seconds at a time and I feel a very complete sense of isolation. I'm way more in an ivory tower now than I ever was as an undergraduate. Or maybe I just notice it now.

Other people are pretty weird to me, lately, too. I've had a couple of conversations about how much I suck at accurately predicting what anyone else's reaction will be to anything. Obviously, that's an exaggeration- I was able to carry on the conversations, at least. But a surprising percentage of my interactions with other people involve me being completely taken aback, baffled even, by what they say and how they say it.

Which is mostly good, because it would be really boring if I already knew what everyone was going to say all the time. But occasionally not so great, because it is a great hindrance to relationships when I never know what anyone else is talking about, or why.

No comments:

Post a Comment