Crazy People

I like crazy people.  They are very entertaining.

Yes, it’s true, some of them can literally drive you nuts. Some of them are certifiable loonies who are overstimulated, under-medicated, or self-aggrandizing ding-a-lings. Most of the time, though, they are just fallible humans doing the best they can to cope in a world which – at that moment – is befuddling or overwhelming to them.

For example: the guy driving the black Audi in the lane merging with mine (right in my blind spot, might I add), who sped up and flipped me off because I couldn’t read his mind about wanting to be in front of me, not behind me. 

Or the lady sitting two seats over from me in the movie theater who refused to turn her cell phone off and kept getting calls and text messages throughout the movie.  She was a slave to their siren call.  When the guy behind her asked her to put her phone away, she whispered an obsenity at him and stomped out of the theater.

These people are funny because they are so willing to hand over the emotional reins of control to total strangers.  They are fascinating examples of humanity at its most interesting.

This pretty much describes all of us at one time or another.  All of us have lost control to some extent in a frustrating situation. I was playing a very poor round of golf with my husband one day this past summer. Despite my best efforts to have a nice afternoon with him, I was angry and flustered with my game. We came to a hole which was lined with expensive condos and warning signs not to cut the corner of the fairway, or we would be responsible for damages.  At one point I hit a shank that bounced down the right side of the fairway and rolled into a landscaped portion of the condo property.  A rather uptight woman stood on the second story balcony, and as I walked over to retrieve my ball (I wasn’t going to hit out of the wood chips and azaleas), said in a very haughty voice, “You aren’t supposed to hit this direction.  You need to be careful where you hit.”

Anger and frustration got the better of me and I replied in a voice that was knifed with sarcasm, “Yeah, because I did that on purpose.”

“Well, you’re not supposed to hit over here.”

I literally stood and stared at her in disbelief.  The absolute rage that seethed in my chest made me want to throw my club at the woman’s head. I snatched up the ball, walked to where my husband had parked the cart, and sat down. Then I started to laugh. The whole scene had replayed itself, and I found such humor in both the arrogant lady and my own loss of control.  It was funny. Those kinds of encounters usually are.

However, there are those crazy people who, for whatever reason, are convinced of their own sanity.  It’s not they who have the issue – it’s the whole freakin’ rest of the world that’s off its nut. These crazy people are somewhat less than entertaining.

For example, my dad’s second wife – and NO – she is not my step-mother.  She is only nine years older than I am, and I would no sooner claim a connection to her than I would try to fly from the roof of my house. She is convinced that I have treated her unfairly, and that my telling her I no longer wished to communicate with her is evidence of my craziness, not a response to her own insensitivities. 

Two examples: When my oldest daughter was making her first efforts to fledge the nest, she seemed to need a reason to leave.  It wasn’t enough that she was old enough to make the choice, she needed to be angry at her dad and I so she would have a reason to go. She began breaking the house rules at every turn: staying out past curfew, not getting her chores done, being disrespectful. When my husband and I told her that she could either abide by the rules or find another place to live where the rules didn’t matter, she seized upon the opportunity to make her break.  But she called and told my dad’s wife that we had made her leave.  Without hesitation, this woman notified almost all of my family members – including my sister, my aunts and uncles in other states, and her own parents – and told them that we had, quite literally, kicked my daughter out of the house and left her nowhere to go.

We had given my daughter two weeks to make up her mind about what she wanted, but that part of the story wasn’t conveyed, nor did this woman bother to ask.

The outraged phone calls to my home which ensued were, at first, unnerving, and ultimately entertaining.

Another time, while sitting at lunch with my three children, my dad’s wife turned to my son and blatantly said to him, “Why don’t you like me.”

My son is a sweet boy, and he gets very upset if he thinks he has hurt someone’s feelings.  But for years – and I do mean YEARS – this woman had treated him as a second-class citizen.  Her excuse was always that she didn’t understand boys as well as she did girls (despite the evidence to the contrary in her interactions with her three nephews).

Devastated, my son replied that he did like her. What else could he say as they sat at lunch?  Then this woman turned to my youngest daughter and, in front of my son and my oldest daughter, said, “Just don’t turn out to be like your brother.”

Really?  This is acceptable?

Another of my favorite examples has to be the local writer who hates my guts.  A recent blog she wrote was a gospel message of change and love inspired by President Obama.  She claimed his words had softened her heart and made her want to be a better person.  She espoused forgiveness and love and light. Then, within days, she began dishing on people who put inflatable ornaments in their yards and ranting against lesbians who don’t accept bisexual into their midst.

It would be easy to be angry at all the crazy people in the world. And sometimes anger is a justifiable response to the actions of idiots.  For me, it’s an opportunity to observe unique human behavior for future use in character development. It doesn’t matter if it’s someone else’s behavior or my own – craziness is fascinating. It’s often funny. It nearly always makes for a good story.

So here’s to the crazies of the world: Let your freak flags fly!

FreakFlag.jpg freak flag image by jacobrosales

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Crazy People

  1. drtombibey says:

    Kim,

    One major reason I became a fiction writer is I couldn’t figure out any other way to deal with the truth about some people.

    Dr. B

  2. Kim Justesen says:

    Dr. B! Thanks for the great words! I know it helps to have that creative outlet – other wise they’d make us crazy, too. (crazier, I mean)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s