Monday, October 19, 2015

Illuminations 10.19.15



My head spins when I reflect about the seemingly endless range of impressions I give off to the various people of the settings of my life. The vast spectrum exists not because I change so radically from group to group ("We wear the mask"-esque) but because the people of each place I reflect off of differ so greatly.

The people of my past (and present)--high school friends, chorus friends, best friend of 11 years--are roughly around the same age as I am. I'd say 95% of them are science and/or engineering majors. To them I display an identity of capricious weirdness: emotional, liberal art-ish, and sometimes way too impulsive. I can be somewhat of an outsider for various reasons, but most of the time I have a sweatpants personality with them.

At college, there are so many subgroups in which I dabble that I'll only name two. The first would, of course, be the internship here at 3416 Boylan. Just given the fact that everyone in the office is older than I already knocks the words and opinions straight out of me. Maybe it's because of the way I was raised, but I immediately become more of a listener and reserved when I'm with anyone older than I (even if it's just by a year). Sounds childish (and maybe even pitiful), but it's an instinctual thing. The second subgroup would be my Psychology major peers. Man, if I'm too straight-laced for the English majors, than I'm definitely too weird for the Psychology majors. I'm also quiet and reserved with them, mainly because I've received the "Are you kidding me?" once over from quite a number of them.

At home, I'm (or rather I 'seem') either ~Practically Perfect in Every Way~ or The Seed. All depends on whether or not I fulfill expectations.

Work. Ah, work. For those of you who don't know (which would be...about 95% of you. Whoops.), I work as a waitress at an Irish sports bar/pub and restaurant. I am most definitely the youngest person there, at all times. So you get that same deferential, respectful thing from me going on, blah blah blah, even though I'm shuffling around salty Irishmen and overworked/underpaid court workers most of the time. I could get into the sitcom-worthy cast of characters here, but I'll save that for another post.

As a customer, you walk in. You see me giving off those fresh-faced, "ah...you don't know the world yet," young looks. (Whatever that's supposed to mean) A lot of customers take it into their hands to 'loosen me up' and pull a (whatever size and species they apparently see) stick out of my ass. Sometimes it borders on harassment, but on Wednesday, it was just weird.

It started with a very talkative, very stressed stuttering man (who looked around 25) sliding into a booth. All it took for him was a small once-over of me and a glance at the book I was reading (The Birchbark House by Louise Eldrich) to make me his 'loosening up' target. Sounds quite rape-y, but it really wasn't.

There were no other customers, so we talked for about 30 minutes. He complained about the BMCC computer science students he's teaching; I griped about Psychology majors. Despite the cocky nerd thing he had going on, it was a good time! When his friend arrived, I ran back to my book.

But they had other plans in mind. (Escape thwarted.)

They shouted "WAITRESS" and, later, my name, to get "a second opinion" about:
-whether or not NY state looked like a type of rifle
-what exactly the tri-state area is (Guy 1 was looking for an opportunity to triumphantly produce evidence for his Friend's apparent stupidity)
-my opinion on the field of Psychology (according to Friend, "Almost all psychologists/psychiatrists are frauds and corrupt" *a lone tear rolls down my face*)
-my opinion on drugs in general ("Uh..." *sigh from Friend* "When I was your age...")
-whether or not Friend looked like an 8-year-old ("No, about 13." *glare from Friend* "When I was your age...")

For your benefit
They kept me until 9:30. Mind you, my shift ends at 9:00; I'm very defensive of that fact. But my inner writer glued herself to an anvil, and you know what that means. Turns out Guy #1 was 40-years-old and gay (he insisted, so as to not seem like ÜberCreep) and Friend 21-years-old. So much for "When I was your age" (dude, I'm sure you watched Cyberchase and Arthur eating 3D Doritos like I did).

I can proudly say I have my own first regulars, though...

If I seem freaked out, it's because I'm not used to being 'chosen' as a friend (and believe me, they have every intention of being friends). And, if you've gotten this far, reader...this is the real heart of this blog post. Believe me when I say that people don't befriend me, I befriend them. I'm talking about close friends, not good conversation friends or friend of a friend friends. Aside from that 11-year best friend (Hi Paula), whom I connected with over simple childish boredom, I've lived on a 'friend at first sight' method up until now.

What this means is that certain people I meet pop out in a way that makes me initiate conversation with, badger, and obsessively get to know them until I sort of force (?--too strong) them to be my close friend.

...Not exactly the best way to create loving, reciprocating friendships, but my intense fascination with the other person usually drives the relationship well (?--debatable).

I don't really know any other way. But I'm working on it.

If this were a novel I'd be tracing the trope of 'unlikely friendships.' If this were a novel...


See you next week,

Alex

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