My pal Scott recently posted a note on Facebook where he talked about “five odd things” he does when no one else is around. He tagged several people in the note, and if you were tagged, you were supposed to make your own list of five odd things that you do when no one is around. I was tagged, but unfortunately I just can’t think of anything truly odd that I do when no one is around, save for the usual stuff like singing at the top of my lungs when I’m home alone listening to the iPod. Instead, I decided to do a list of “Five Odd Things About Me In General”. Some might make you laugh; some might make you cringe. And so… without further ado… the list!
1) “Get this voice outta my head!” – As you can tell from this blog, I like to write. What you might not know is that I’m writing all the time. Seriously: all… the… time. If I’m not actually engaged in something – like talking to the missus or watching something on TV – I’m writing an article in my head, over and over again. In fact, by the time you read something I’ve posted on this blog, I’ve probably written it in my head dozens of times. So if I’m outside smoking a cigarette, or doing a mundane household task like making the bed or washing dishes, I have this voice in my head, and it’s writing articles… 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! What’s really sad about all this is that “the voice” is apparently only able to write short, non-fiction pieces; despite writing enough articles on this site over the years to fill the Encyclopedia Britannica, I just can’t do long form non-fiction, or fiction in any format. In fact, over the past 20 years, I’ve only had a couple of ideas for stories, and they were half-baked crap that wouldn’t fill one of those little books in the checkout line at the grocery store, much less 300 pages of a “real” novel.
2) “There’s asphalt in Room 101” – When you were a kid, did you ever walk barefoot across asphalt and accidentally “roll” your toes underneath your foot and scrape the tops of them? I did that a few times, and it’s led to one of my only phobias: scraping the tops of my toes on asphalt. It sounds silly, I know. And, as an adult, there are few instances where I actually go outside without shoes. But it happens sometimes. Maybe I need to go out and get the mail, and my shoes are “all the way” upstairs. Maybe I just got out of the shower and Lisa has just come home with a bunch of stuff from Harris Teeter that needs to be unloaded from the car. Whatever the case may be, I’ll walk slowly and carefully across the pavement, and the entire time I’ll think about the sensation of the skin on the tops of my toes being ripped away by the asphalt. And it’ll freak me out. I’ll get a queasy feeling in my stomach, and my brain moves at 1000 miles an hour, thinking alternately about how it would feel and then ordering my muscles not to do it. I don’t think I’d call it a paranoia – I’m not nearly as bad about this as Lisa is about spiders – but still… if I walk across asphalt barefoot, scraping my toes will be the only thing I think about.
3) “We are shaped by our thoughts… and that’s scary!” – I’m not a Buddhist, so I don’t believe in reincarnation. In fact, I don’t even know how Buddhism explains exponential population growth. Having said that, I sometimes think that our littlest kitty, Chloe, is the reincarnation of my maternal grandfather. There’s just something about the looks she gives me, especially when she’s cross, that reminds me of my grandfather. Of course, my maternal grandfather was a male human being and not a cat, so I can’t explain why I think this. But if I’m busy with something and shoo her away… I could swear that it’s my grandfather looking at me, not a cat. Of course, how God or Buddha would know to reincarnate my grandfather as a kitten in Belmont, North Carolina and how He would know that Lisa would take her friend up on the “free kittens” offer, and how He would know that I would pick that particular kitten out of 10 or 20 kittens is beyond my reasoning. I could just chalk it all up to bizarre coincidence… but then again, on a scientific level, human existence seems like a “bizarre coincidence”, too.
4) “Play it again, Sam… and again and again!” – When I find a new song I like, I’ll listen to it over and over and over and over again. Sometimes, I’ll listen to a new song like, 200 times the first week I find it. Take that Katy Perry song “Hot ‘N Cold”, for example. I’d never heard of her before, until one day when Charlotte radio station 107.9 The Link emailed me a “listener’s survey”, where you click a link, listen to song samples and rate them for their future playlists. Amongst the “plod rock” tunes that all sound the same, there was this poptacular song about a guy that can’t make up his find. I typed the lyrics into Google (the surveys doesn’t list the artist or title on song samples, for “bias purposes”, I guess) and found out that it was Katy Perry. Within a few minutes, I had downloaded the track and added it to my iPod – and it was the only song I listened to for the next three days. I often listen to my iPod when doing household tasks like washing dishes, and that usually takes around an hour per night, so… that’s listening to nothing but “Hot N’ Cold” for three hours after I found it. As you might guess, this often leads to strife between the missus and myself: often I’ll “find” a song before she does, and by the time she does find, it, I’ll have listened to it 1800 times and am “done” with it. So we’ll be going out one night and she’ll say “play that Katy Perry song!”. I’ll then snap at her, ‘cos I’m totally done with the song by that point. It’s not fair to her, but I just can’t stop myself from listening to new songs over and over… so I dunno how to “fix” it.
5) “They said it was normal in Health class!” – From the time I was born until the time I was 35, I had a handful (hah!) of “erotic” dreams. Maybe 6 or 7, tops. And I put “erotic” in quotes because the dreams were long and drawn out, and sex was just a tiny part of it.
For example, when I was around 18 or 19, I once dreamt that my best friend and I went to this giant shopping mall. In fact, the mall never seemed to end; it just went on and on and on. The mall was really snazzy and upscale near the entrance, but as my pal and I walked farther and farther into the mall, it became progressively seedier and rundown, such that by the time we got to the food court, it almost looked like something out of Escape From New York. There was a group of “punk rock kids” at the food court, and so my pal and I decided to hang out with them for a while. My friend paired off with some guy, and they started talking about music; I sat next to this girl and started chatting her up. Like all the girls in my “erotic dreams”, I couldn’t quite see her face – it was kind of “pixelated”, like logos on t-shirts in reality shows. The girl and I were then magically transported to my old room. I knew she was naked because I could see her bare belly, and I knew we were having sex because I was on top of her. But that was about it. I had a similar dream a year later, only this time I was alone on a beach, and came across a bunch of kids hanging out. I started a conversation with this girl, and we walked over to a sand dune. Again, I couldn’t make out her face, and it was only by glimpses of her skin – inner thighs this time – that I knew that we were “doing it”.
All that changed when I turned 35. One night, I had a dream about the actress Kate Winslet. We were staying in a clean but rundown hotel somewhere in Central or South America on the edge of a rain forest. She was wearing this tight pink dress, and it was steamy hot, the kind of hot where you just sweat 24 hours a day. After a few minutes of chit-chat, Kate and I started doing it… and I do mean doing it. Whereas all of my previous erotic dreams only hinted at what was going on, this was full-on explicit, like something Vivid Entertainment would put out. Kate and I did it every whichaway there was to do it – including several ways that would get you stoned to death in Muslim countries – and I saw everything. A couple of months later I had a dream about Jenna Fischer from The Office. I was lying on a table, naked except for a towel, in a massage room at some kind of spa (no, not that kind of spa), and Jenna walked in wearing the same lingerie she was wearing in Blades of Glory. While this dream wasn’t as nasty as the Kate Winslet dream, it was still pretty damn explicit. And a few months later, I had two dreams about Kristin Bell from Veronica Mars. The first dream was explicit, but not nasty, while the second was less explicit, but far nastier.
The reason I’m telling you all this “TMI stuff” is because I’m fascinated by it. Why was it that the “dirty dreams” of my teenage years – when my hormones were out of control – were so tame, but now that I’m older, they’re so dirty? Why were my “teenage dreams” always some part of a larger story, while my “adult dreams” are so blatantly sexual? In other words, why were my teenage dreams like a late night Cinemax movie – full of plot and the occasional tease – while my adult dreams are more like Boner Jams ’03?
Let the armchair psychiatry begin!