I spend my days skating on the edge of normalcy. So far I’ve been able to avoid unwelcome attention, but that’s due more to good luck than good management. I can get away with my quirks as long as I live in a nice neighbourhood and shower frequently, but put me on a park bench after a hard workout, and somebody’s gonna call the loony-catchers.
This was brought home to me the other day when Hubby was driving and I was sitting in the passenger seat writing dialogue in my head as usual. He glanced over and said, “Writing again, aren’t you?”
I shook myself back to reality and asked, “How did you know?”
“Easy. You had that thousand-yard stare.”
I have what I prefer to call an “expressive” face. What this really means is that there’s a near-one-hundred-percent probability that if someone snaps a picture, I’ll look moronic. Sometimes when I’m absorbed in planning or writing a particularly intense scene, I can feel my face twisting into expressions of fear, anger, or whatever.
Add that to the fact that I almost never know the date and often take two tries to correctly identify the day of the week, and I’m concerned that if I ever get hospitalized and asked orientation questions, they’ll lock me up permanently.
So in the interests of retaining my freedom, I decided it might be smart to write a short primer on what constitutes normal behaviour for me. At least it’ll provide a basis for the authorities to shrug and say, “Yeah, she’s always been like that. We probably don’t need to lock her up yet.”
So here goes:
- It is normal for me not to know the day/date. If I’m travelling, I may not always get the city/province right on the first try, either.
- It is normal for me to lapse into an apparently catatonic state during which my eye movements mimic REM sleep and my face assumes various inappropriate expressions. It’s also normal for me to be irritated when summarily roused from this state.
- It is normal for me to suddenly and inexplicably groan, slap my forehead, and rush to my office to type madly for minutes or hours. This may happen at any time of the day or night, and includes bolting upright out of an apparently sound sleep and scurrying away to type in the wee hours.
With hallmarks like these, it may be difficult to determine what is abnormal behaviour for me, so here’s a handy list of danger signs.
I need professional help if:
- I turn down the opportunity to go to a nice restaurant or a blues jam or a drag race.
- I fail to fondle fabric when walking through a fabric store.
- There’s a garden available and I don’t plant something.
- I take my car in for an oil change instead of doing it myself.
- I don’t bake when it’s cloudy/raining/snowing… unless I’m reading or writing (those activities trump baking).
- I pass up an opportunity to shoot a handgun, rifle, shotgun, bow, slingshot, or any other projectile weapon.
- I walk past an unassembled jigsaw puzzle.
- I don’t dissolve into a revolting pile of sappy mush at the sight of kittens.
- I spill beer. That’s a danger sign in itself, but if I don’t show extreme remorse afterward, it’s already too late – I’m beyond help.
What are your danger signs?