Maybe it’s because of the sketch class that I’ve started viewing the people around me more and more as characters in a short play. Ok, I’ll be honest; I’ve seen always them that way and the more outrageous among them turn up on the blog. But lately I’ve started casting them into their respective roles – the reliable and jolly friend, the snarky but affable co-worker or the kooky relative (you know, the guy who hides the biscuits when you go out to eat – c’mon, you know you have one, too). Now, I could (and probably should) focus on the funny bits, but lately I haven’t been feeling the funny. And while I’m not quite at the stage where I shut off all the lights, light up the candles and listen to moody music loudly (thankfully, I gave that up mid-teens) I’m moving into that place where I glower a bit and mumble to myself. I’ve become one of those crazy people you carefully avoid making eye contact with lest you get their unwanted attention. What I’ve realized (and realizing I’m exceptionally churlish right now) is that the role I currently fill is “pariah”. Gads. It’s not even the role for which I auditioned. I had my hopes up for the goofy sidekick. Who knew that role was already taken?
Now the pariah role isn’t all that bad despite what you may have heard from the casting director. I mean really, admit it, everyone loves the villain most. They’re far more interesting. A pariah is like a villain, only it’s more pariah-y. The perks of being one include: You get a lot of free time. You don’t have to travel much or worry about commenting on anyone’s awkward decor. You don’t have to clean the guest room, no one is coming over. Relatives don’t call often and when they do, it’s only one or two whose kids are out of the house. Hey, it’s important to keep young minds away from the event horizon of a soul sucking vacuum. You’re not juggling dates trying to work out your schedule to please everyone. In fact, the next time I’m busy in December 17th – that’s four weeks I get to myself before I make everyone crazy, and then I’m free the rest of the year (and the next) minus the occasional doctor’s visit. More books for me! You become familiar with all the characters in your friends and family’s lives. Those names are thrown out to provide a great excuse on those occasions you don’t feel like saying “no” directly. For example, a plausible excuse might be, “I’d love to, but I haven’t seen Hank in months.” You don’t have to wade through a lot of emails or phone messages wondering, “Did I forget to respond to that invite?” And you don’t have to worry if the casual invite of, “let’s get together for lunch” is real. It’s not. Of course, one advantage is you can extend the same invites knowing you’ll never have to schedule anything, because you’re not going to get a response. “Hey, want to fly to Paris in June? We’ll swing by the Louvre. Say hello to Sarkozy at a private dinner.” No? *crickets* Although, the phrase “Happy Hour” does seems to get attention, so if you say it be prepared to host it. (Lushes!) The downside is: not a lot of people like you and their spouses… well, you’ll be lucky if you just get away with a withering look.
Thankfully, I married a pariah sympathizer which means I do get to go out to the occasional movie and there are those few brave souls who cover their battle scars from dealing with me and pull on their armor in an attempt to make plans with me. “Brave soul” is their role.
The way I see it my current role is “Pariah” or maybe Curmudgeony Jerk is a better description (golly, I don’t know why no one wants to be around me). Just imagine, I’ll be a real hoot by the time Christmas gets here. You can just feel it, can’t you?
(I’ll try to think up a cute Sam story for next time.)