House of Mirrors

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This post is inspired by a comment left by one of my many followers (I think I have three, maybe four). He had read about my receiving a gift and dinner from a friend for Christmas, and commented something to the effect of “Must be nice. Me? no gift. no lady.” I assured him that my life isn’t one long party. That I spent Christmas and New Year’s alone with my cat. Blogging, no less. And furthermore, being alone is pretty much how things are for me, the vast majority of the time. But this got me to thinking, when you are sad, feeling sorry for yourself, it always feels like other people are having the time of their lives. What an incredible distortion! I think most people are discontented with their lives, and yearn for something better. And, for sure, people love to complain. It is stating the obvious to say that there isn’t enough love in our lives. Sometimes our need for love can lead to those incredible distortions. Actually his reaction to my pleasant time with a friend, resembled my reaction to Margaret Cho, imagining that she was this rich, hot-shot celebrity who didn’t read the comments on her blog. Then discovering that she isn’t rich, isn’t really a celebrity, certainly no hot-shot, and she definitely reads the comments. In my lonely apt. I conjured up this distortion from what I imagined she was like. I feel like an asshole, but hey! people do that all the time, that’s why the National Enquirer does so well. People want to think all kinds of crazy things. But my point is about the distortion which warps how we relate to one another. That’s what I’m calling the House of Mirrors. Because it is all you, being reflected back in all kinds of crazy ways.

It is really difficult to step outside of the ego and see people as they are. We make assumptions on very skimpy evidence, or even no evidence. Once again, this same gentleman who commented before. (I assume he is a gentleman. He hasn’t yet confided in me about the human body parts stored in his refrigerator.) commented on my way too revealing blog post Why am I sad? I regret that one somewhat because I was in pain when I wrote it, and I do think that the internet probably isn’t the best place to pour your heart out. But I posted it, and so it stays! Besides, after I read it again, it isn’t quite so bad as I thought, some people might actually understand it and relate to it. But all my follower had to say was “I think I saw her on tv. The program with the guy showing all the old pictures?” Despite this less than erudite comment, I knew what show he was referring to, and yes Margaret Cho was on it. But that was all this guy had to say about an emotional piece of writing. So, my first reaction was “what an asshole! he probably has a beer in his hand as I speak” but this reaction is unfair to him. It could be that he had decided to follow my blog, and came across this screed not knowing quite what to say about it. You know how men are when it comes to feelings, at least he didn’t just ask me “So? Do ya think you’ll ever get to bang her?” But in any case, this is a classic case of distortion, getting my feathers ruffled based on very little evidence. He wasn’t rude. He just didn’t have much to say, but felt like he should say something. Sort of like the guy who asked Mrs. Lincoln after her husband was shot, “So how was the play?” He meant well, it was just an awkward moment. But this is one of the pitfalls of confiding feelings on the internet. You may get your feelings hurt by well meaning people. Not because of what they write, but because of that House of Mirrors which distorts communication. No hard feelings to my follower. You meant well, and no, I don’t think I will ever have the opportunity to bang her.

Given the insidiousness of this process, it is a wonder that we connect as much as we do, as a species. It is so screwed up when it comes to star-struck fans that it is practically impossible for a “celebrity” to really connect with a fan. The fan isn’t really listening to a word, instead it’s OMG I am really standing here talking to so-and-so, I can’t believe it. And then they probably can’t even remember what the “celebrity” said to them. Big time distortion. So I am learning a lot about how to use this blog, basically my primary purpose is to help in my own little way to get people to WAKE UP. Naturally I should start with myself. That is why I am not going to withdraw, but I may be a tad bit more cautious. I may not do any more blogging while I’m upset. Wait until I cool down to write. That would be smart.

I will finish this post with a little story having to do with “celebrities” and how I relate to them.

Back in the early eighties I was working in a small grocery, and one day Bill Murray strolls in. I don’t say anything to him. I had the attitude (and still do) that celebrities are no big deal and I am a celebrity who hasn’t been discovered yet. I refuse to be some stupid fan asking for an autograph. It just felt demeaning to me somehow. So Bill cruises around the store, and keeps coming over to me to ask where various items are. Items that are sitting in very plain sight, right in front of his nose. And I point them out to him and he thanks me. All this time, I’m thinking, “He can’t understand why I’m ignoring the fact that he is Bill Murray. Doesn’t this kid know who I am? Doesn’t he watch SNL? What’s this kid’s problem? I’m Bill Murray!” It was like he kept pestering me hoping that I would finally say “Hey aren’t you Bill Murray?” and ask for an autograph. He was probably used to that. My coworker whispers to me “that’s Bill Murray!” and I say “Yeah. I know.” Of course I don’t know if that was what was going on, maybe Bill just didn’t want to find these items himself, but it’s kind of a funny story. There was another time when I did approach a “celebrity”, Jimmy Page walked into the store where I worked, buying up all the Aleister Crowley books he could find, and I struck up a conversation with him about Crowley and asked about his concert that night. He was a very ordinary down-to-earth guy, and we had a fun conversation. The people I worked with were flipping out, “I can’t believe how you just talked to him as if you’d known him for years!” Well, in a way I had. I knew his music pretty well. But I just wasn’t starstruck. I’m not like that. At least I’m not like that when I encounter “celebrities” in person. One time I had a chance to talk to William S. Burroughs and didn’t. I have regretted that. I was pretty young though. I wish Bill Burroughs were still alive. I think he and I would have some interesting conversations. If I ever meet Margaret Cho, I am sure we would enjoy each other’s company.

Oh, and you know that post “why am I sad?” I might go back and rename it “why do I cry when I go potty?” just to lighten it up a bit.

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