I have a terrible malady. People I encounter live wildly, interesting lives- in my imagination. When reality strikes it can be devastating. I once loved a man, who is now a Republican of all things. The entire time I adored him, I confused him with the person I imagined Bob Dylan would be. Perception is 99% of life.
There have been times in my life when reality has been dangerously interesting. This experience scarier than the rest-I lived for a short while in an Asian country with roommates. One of them allowed his friend to run heroin from Chiang Mai to Australia through our house. I was totally unaware. I had a literary idea of what heroin was but had never seen anyone thus afflicted. He sat cross-legged on the living room couch, nodding out. I thought the poor man had jet lag! Mind you, I was young, naive, and a parochial AMERICAN but I would have gone to prison, and likely died there, if he’d been arrested. I am not a fan of dangerously interesting.
I have been alternately blessed and cursed by the perception that I am predictable and dependable. If I had a penny for every time someone has expressed disappointment at my failure to conform, I’d be freakin’ Wall Street rich! The reproval has been made in tedious objection, “I never would have expected this from YOU.” I wish I’d countered with, “If you’d expected it, it wouldn’t have been such a surprise!” There have been occasions when the disappointment has reached my sister, “This is so unlike her, behaving this way…” My sister has always been tempted to reply, “You must not know her very well then, because this is EXACTLY like her.” Perception is 99% of life.
After a certain age one cannot behave badly because it is UNSEEMLY. There are still wildly, interesting ways of creating an exciting perception; political dissidence comes immediately to mind, tattoos are so passé.