Saturday, August 2, 2008

Outside the box.

We're told that this is where we should think, sometimes. To solve a difficult problem, say, or when attempting to be creative or interesting or wise. But I have a small dilemma with this. I can't find the box. I've never even seen the box, much less dwelled within it. On the surface this sounds like a good thing. It isn't.

Oh, it has its advantages. Throw an unimaginable difficulty at me - destruction of a city, institutionalization of a parent, unidentifiable health problem - and I'll wrangle with it like simple addition. I've been tried enough times to know the veracity of this. But everyday life? Hold a job, pay rent, navigate casual relationships, get up in the morning, go to the grocery store? Differential equations. I'm clueless, I'm hopeless.

"What do you mean?" They say. "The directions are all in the box." Ah! And therein lies the rub.

Maybe it's something inside the box that makes people enjoy watching television, makes them want what's in the ads, makes them believe that this diet really is the miracle, makes them want to buy Explorers. Maybe subliminal messages in there make them like very crowded bars with very very loud music - tell them that's "fun", instead of what my brain tells me about it: "panic attack". Maybe posters on the walls or some pamphlets on the table tell them how to get and hold jobs, and be content with them; how to go to the grocery store and not be freaked out by the big lights and how to eat the "food" presented there without thinking too hard about what's in it. Maybe there's a video on endless loop entitled, How to Make and Keep Friends.

Maybe I'd be happier if I'd ever found the box. But maybe I wouldn't have fit in there either.

Sometimes I think the box is school, and if that's the case then the above statement is definitely truth. I didn't get much of a chance though. Too many boxes. First I went to a weird tiny private school where all the kids were just as inept as me. Then for one year (third grade) I went to a normal public school - by that time the damage had been done, and it was pointed out to me on a daily basis. Then for a year and a half I went to another private school, this time not so tiny at all and for 'gifted' students, which mostly translated to rich students, which I certainly was not. New kid + poor + weird = most hated, most easily picked on. Then in the end of fifth grade we moved; stick smart onto the above equation and you've got even more fun arithmetic. In a public school setting, gifted = tortured for the most part. And oddly enough tortured =/ great social skill development. It really is kind of a miracle that I didn't do drugs in high school.

I wish the box was the refrigerator box I got ahold of when I was six. It was the awesomest. I made it into my own house in the backyard. I had furniture in there and everything. But I left it out in the Florida rain, and my mom had to throw it away.

I guess I was never very good with boxes.

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