Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nice E Vs. Paranoid E

Sometimes I feel bad for people if they meet me drunk.

When I've been drinking I love the world. I think people are good and we should just all get along. I'm happy and carefree and don't worry about stuff like politics, welfare, taxes, rapists, pedophiles, money, or personal space. All I care about is that right now life is swell.

Now if those people only interact with me when I'm drinking I suppose that's fine, but since I don't drink very much anymore those chances are pretty low. This is a shame because the sober me is different. The sober me doesn't want to tell people what city I live in. The sober me carries a knife. The sober me gets itchy and anxious in crowds and has to restrain myself from reacting violently to minor infractions of personal space.

This is illustrated perfectly from a mental reaction I had a few days ago.

I was walking to my car after class. My classes don't end until it's dark out and even though it makes me anxious, I park off campus to get more exercise.

As I make my way through the large parking lot I, being constantly aware of my surroundings, notice a fellow behind me and to the right. He's normal looking enough but this doesn't make me feel any better because they pretty much always look normal. I keep an eye on him. My paranoid meter really lit up with I notice a man in front of me (and to the right) walking on crutches.

Instead of thinking "Aww, poor guy got hurt!" my mind goes immediately to "OMG TED BUNDY" and I start thinking up ways to avoid him in case he starts looking like he's struggling with his backpack or if he falls down (for those that don't know, Ted Bundy used to trick young women by pretending to be hurt and having them help him to his car which he would then push them in, kidnap them, rape them, torture them for days and finally kill them). My heart starts pounding, I start sweating even though it's freezing out and I'm walking as fast as I can short of breaking into a run because I don't want to draw any attention to myself that might let him know that I'm on to his evil plot.

I panic even more when he picks up his crutches and starts walking normally (see, I bet up until this point you thought I was crazy and was panicking needlessly. Obviously I was right so there). I generally like to stay behind people that I'm being cautious about because strangers standing behind me make me nervous. Unfortunately I already have guy #1 behind me and since I've got a much better chance of outrunning two people than fighting them (if necessary) I decide that I'm going to pick up the pace and get in front of Bundy.

It gets even worse. For me. Suddenly guy #1 is also picking up the pace. In my mind this has to be intentional because I'm practically booking it at this point and since I'm already on edge about the crutches, obviously, this guy is also a serial killer as far I know. I take out my knife, concealing it in my hand under my sweater and try to hold my breath (to hear better) which is incredibly difficult because I'm hyperventilating at this point. He's gaining on me and crosses the street when I do and just as I'm readying myself to be attacked... he turns down another road and walks away from me.

I bolt to my car, make sure no one is hiding in it (I do this every time I get into my car), throw my things inside, jump in and lock the doors, turn on my car (just in case I have to take off quickly), and then finally I'm able to catch my breath and calm myself down.

Anyway, this is why I feel bad for people who meet me drunk. They think I'm cool and nice but in reality my crazy is as easy to ignore as a pile of matches soaked in lighter fluid.

I'm lucky that I look so normal.


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