I feel like rambling tonight. I'm a bit of a rambler anyway. On any given day, a wealth of inconsequential trivia usually flows from my lips like wine spilled at a wedding.
I waited on a very nice couple today. The woman was a diabetic and wanted to know details of carbs and the like on the menu. I went in the back and got the allergy list for her. I watched as she carefully charted the merits of a dry baked potato versus the wisdom of a side of broccoli. Her husband and she discussed a point system and I watched as she unzipped her little diabetic case. He kept an eagle eye on her; there was a gentle concern and steely resolve in his expression. I adored them both.
We got to blabbing. Don't ask me how, but the three of us covered everything from wind technology to the Yellowstone Caldera, the price of gas and the inefficiency of refining used grease into bio fuel. It was heaven. The restaurant was empty, we were all blabbers stuffed full of info few people care to hear, and we dined on the thrill of conversation that was oh-so-interesting to us. I skipped across the dining room like a kid at Christmas, and the couple had the same gleeful glow in their radiant faces. So much fun.
I have one of those brains that's very selective in what it cares to retain. An almost catlike disdain for anything it doesn't find interesting. Those things are few and far between, and usually fall into the mathematical realm. I have no talent with math, no interest in times tables and virtually no sense of direction. For me to find East, for example, I have to remember what a flat drawing of the United States looks like, remember that New York is the east coast (on my right) and California is the west coast (on my left). I know the east coast has a little tail like a fox (Florida) and the West Coast has a pregnant belly with a wiggle on the edge (California). My mind then drifts to the San Andreas fault and the stressed temporal plates right off the coast and I worry about people living there if they suddenly snap. Then I think about native animals who might forewarn people by going inland and up and how warm the waters are there. I then shake myself and mumble, "Concentrate. North is up and South is down. Now, that's supposed to help me figure out which way to turn." By then, if I'm driving, I've already passed the exit I was supposed to take anyway. My ex husband made me promise once to never drive into the City alone. "It'll end up like Kevin Kline in Grand Canyon," he told me. Kevin Kline didn't fare too well in that movie when he made a wrong turn.
On the other hand, I can remember virtually everything else. My brain loves to suck up knowledge and I like to read pretty much everything. I have favorite quotes posted all over my studio walls from Shakespeare, Einstein, Whitman, Rupert Sheldrake, Edgar Allen Poe, Homer, Frank Capra, Chris Rock and Harlequin Romances. I weep copiously at pretty much all Walt Disney animated films, overwhelmed by all the work and dedication of all the artists who worked on them, and even though I've seen it a zillion times, I still cry when George Bailey prays in Martini's bar on Christmas Eve in It's a Wonderful Life. Right now I'm reading a book on World War II, a graphic novel about the Battle of Troy, a technical book on social insects, a children's biography on Mozart and a romance that's dog-eared from multiple readings. I don't really fit into any category of book lovers. My intellectual friends cringe and douse me with holy water when they see the comic books and trashy novels scattered about the room, and my down to earth pals look uncomfortable when they see the multiple dictionaries and ten-pound tomes piled high on numerous tables. I just like to read everything. I save National Geographics and tear up my Entertainment Weekly magazines (after I read them) for reference pictures on possible future art projects.
I love clothes but hate shopping, so usually wander about like a bag lady in ancient, much-washed ugly garments. I don't really think about it; I just grab what's next in the dresser drawer. Since I don't have a car, the homeless woman image is complete on grocery shopping days because I push my little wheelie cart around to carry the bags home. My roommate will be talking to me as we lounge on our prospective couches, then suddenly yell, "My GOD, Rebecca! You're wearing another pair of socks with big holes in them!" I'm usually startled to discover she's right. My mom used to "accidentally" set fire to ancient beloved clothing of mine, well worn and re-stitched to within inches of their lives. She had a barbecue pit in the backyard and I'd find my charred dumpster picking clothes, all charred and ragged, many a sad time. And forget it if anybody gives me clothing as a gift. I'll wear it until it falls apart, then sew it together and wear it some more. Sentimental to the core, I simply adore the stuff because a loved one gave it to me. When my son was little, he went shopping for a Mother's Day gift for me. He knew I liked black, and got me a voluminous black t-shirt that had "Mother" stitched on the label. It was a maternity shirt for a woman who had to be at least twelve months pregnant but I wore it everywhere, grinning at all the inevitable questions of when was I due. I walked around with an American Flag helmet a dear friend gave me that had been worn at Ground Zero after September 11th. I carried a Daytop bag (my son's rehab) as a purse for a year after the same friend gave it to me; he'd arranged a donation and Daytop had sent him the bag as thanks. He knew I'd treasure the ugly little thing, and I did. I stuffed sliced rubber soles into a pair of Nikes my best friend gave me for Christmas after I'd worn holes in them because I loved the fact that they were from her.
The point of all this rambling is, I guess, the lovely fact that I no longer try to hide my eccentricities in books and garb. Insecurity made me embarrassed by my quirky likes and dislikes, and for decades, I tried to conform and be like everybody else. The truth of the matter is, nobody, if you really look closely, is like everybody else. They all just want to appear that way, a sort of herd mentality and flocking perspective, as if that way is the only way to be: like everybody else. But though we have similarities and fall into categories in many ways, each one of us is as individual as a fingerprint, as rare as a priceless gem, as precious as gold and as different as forensics now prove. Revel in it, my friends. Embrace your own weirdness and try not to be too shy about who and what you truly are. Because you're one of a kind, just like me. That's the only category that truly fits: we're all one of a kind.