Remember the weird kid in school?
Well, if you’re like me, you probably remember several weird kids, each weird in his own way.
Remember the one who owned a corner of the playground because no one wanted to come near him? He played with and talked to people who weren’t there. He displayed imagination while the rest of the kids just wanted to hang from the monkey bars or see how high they could go on the swings. He liked the swings, and the jungle gym, and ladders and slides, but he also liked to read.
A dangerous thing, reading. It makes you see things that aren’t there, and have adventures with creatures that don’t exist.
It makes you smarter. Makes you ask questions. Makes you think. Makes you wonder. Makes you write more books.
The weird kid is a loner, but not always. He might have a small group of friends of varying weirdness. He might even have “normal” friends, those who watch the television shows everyone else does, goes to the same movies, listens to the same music, earns the same grades. The weird kid is not an utter outcast.
But what happens when he grows up? Does he learn to conform? Does he shed the skin of weirdness and look like everyone else?
Does he ever learn proper social skills? Or does nearly every conversation still turn toward his latest geeky obsession or nerd-centric gathering?
This is only my own experience talking, but the weird kid can get along in life, but I’m not sure he ever quite loses that thing that made him different. I’ve been a grownup now for a good long while, and I still feel like the odd man out.
I still make random remarks out loud that fit neatly with the conversation going on in my head. Too bad no one overhearing my comments is privy to that discussion. (It’s especially awkward when I’m rehearsing dialogue for a story, and accidentally have a back-and-forth conversation between characters while I’m in, say, the elevator.)
I still invite perfect strangers to give opinions on this or that. Still over-share when I should shut up, and then cling like death to the doorposts when someone asks me to step outside my comfort zone and give a speech about something I’ve not already prepared.
It’s a sideways life, being the weird kid.
But I’ve been this kid for so many decades, I don’t know how to be otherwise.
Any kindred odds out there?