Last night I sat at a bar (my local) initially feeling quite at home with people I had known for over 20 years. As the evening progressed and alcohol consumed, I saw Joan of Arc at the end of the bar tilting a martini back while gazing with sad eyes at the Yankee’s game on the television. She glanced my way, raised her glass and gulped the clear liquid, spilling a few drops on her chainmail. She dabbed the substance with a white cloth bearing a red cross, wiped her eyes with the same material and vanished. I rubbed my eyes quietly cursing myself for drinking something other than scotch.
Sometimes I think I am so backwards and eccentric that I should never leave the house. Sometimes I think that human beings are so moronic that I must be on Candid Camera.
I find some forms of conversation so ignorant and morally corrupt that I have to get away from the center of it physically before I explode. I try to stay calm, witty and even jolly but my gut tells me that certain words said aloud are so powerful that they can hurt bodily. I can actually hear someone’s soul screaming in pain as if on a medieval torture device. Have we evolved to the point where we no longer need to physically torture each other because we can do it with words instead? I think so.
Then I return to the thought that I am too sensitive for human consumption. I have no business socializing with anyone but the elderly or the 4 legged. Am I so wrong to believe in the fundamental goodness of people? Are people so jaded that they haven’t a clue about how sad or bombastic they seem? My philosophical education may be limited but my spiritual one is not. Sitting next to a human in denial of deep emotional distress is tough, having them use that pain as a weapon is dangerous.
I wasn’t going to write about this event because I felt I should sit on all the psychic voodoo I experienced but in the light of day, with nobody but myself willing to take note of the disturbance I figure I might as well get it out of my system. Nobody seems to care anyway. So, later in the evening I turned to the handsome man sitting next to me. This guy is (was) no dumb-dumb, and I’ve known him for a very long time. Sure he has a wounded heart but I trusted his intellect and sensitive nature to turn the conversation around (ignoring the fact that he started it in the first place). This was not to be. I dug my nails into my hand in trying to keep my mouth shut at the sexist words spilling over the bar but I couldn’t hold my tongue once another man at the other end of the bar began to chime in agreement.
The topic had zoomed into everyone agreeing that women are statistically attracted to men with money and power, that it has always been so, and that it would never change. I can’t get on board with generalizing about human beings, I never can. Even if this stupefying topic is true, I prefer to discuss the exception to the rule. I prefer to talk about people who change the world for the better, not stereotype women back into a whalebone corset. And hey, I’m no feminist remember?
(Let me add that at one point I was speaking to a 28-year-old Greek man (boy) from Athens who said he didn’t care about the ancients. He actually said, “Who cares about Socrates, Pythagoras, or Callicrates? Who cares about the past? It is stupid.” I understood what he was getting at in that he feels his culture relies too heavily on the past -but seriously dude? I should have bolted right then and there but I didn’t, I just had to wait for the “statistical” assessment of women and men. I wonder what Joseph Campbell‘s take would have been…)
Eventually I stood up and said, “I can’t do this, I’m out.” Then walked out the door.
Once outside I took off my sandals and ran home, literally. I had to physically get away from the toxicity floating all around me. I don’t think I’ve ever run so fast in my life, and having hiked barefoot earlier in the day, it wasn’t easy. There was no soft earth to carry me – just cold, hard concrete acting like defibrillator paddle’s on my feet.
I have a wicked sense of humor. I can be overly sarcastic and have had moments of deep cynicism in my life but I absolutely refuse to give into it body and soul. I will fight to remain optimistic, statistics and stereotypes be damned.