The bad part is, like the really shit thing, is that people don't understand. Which means they don't believe.
You can't believe in what you don't understand, no matter what those religious people say. "God works in mysterious ways," they say, as if that explains anything. As if that should help somehow. Like that lack of being able to explain it explains it. Deep down, maybe they think they believe it. But you can't believe what you don't understand, not really.
So when you're crazy, the only people who really relate are all the other crazies. They're the only ones whoówhen they arenít flinging handfuls of their feces into your hair or screaming at the plant or crying by the windowócan relate. Theyíre the only ones who truly believe you. But fuck them, right? Theyíre all nuts.
The people who love you, the people you really wish could understand, they just think you're an asshole.
She holds the bottle just a little too longóIíd like to think sheís second-guessing her decisionóso instead of smashing into my face, it slams into my chest and falls to the floor. Sheís screaming about how Iím an asshole. This is that thing I was telling you about.
I pick the bottle up and unscrew the cap, because what the hell, at this point. Sheís screaming about what a selfish, self-absorbed, self-obsessed asshole I am as I tip the bottle back and take three deep swallows. It tastes like shit, but even cheap whiskey is whiskey, and itís looking like itís going to be one of those nights.
I want to tell her to shut up, and then I want to tell her that I love her. But she wouldnít do that first thing, and she wouldnít believe that second thing, so I just take another drink and look at her as she screams at me that I donít care about anyone other than myself.
Just for the record, sheís wrong. I care about other people. I care about a lot of other people. Iím just not very good at it. Iíve tried my entire life, but thereís always this thing, this faulty switch, this broken piece.
They have a name for it. They have lots of names for, it, really. When they hand you your amber plastic bottles inside the discreet little white bag at the drug store, they also give you about thirty pages of literature, telling you when to take all the pills, and what each one does. Also, when the doctor gives you the prescription for the amber bottles and literature, he gives you another couple booklets of literature.
Stuff about dissocial personality disorder. Stuff about narcissistic personality disorder. Stuff about histrionic personality disorder. Stuff that means you donít give a shit. They give you this huge stack of booklets telling you about how you donít care, and they expect you to read them. ďTo better understand your condition,Ē they tell you, ďSo you can better express to your friends and loved ones whatís happening.Ē
They give you fifty pounds of big words, all of it telling you why youíre an asshole, and then they tell you to read it, under the assumption that you arenít an asshole.
The pills, they make you feel on the inside what a mannequin looks like on the outside. Fake and plastic and hollow.
You take them because youíre trying to show everyone what an asshole you arenít, look at me, look at me, Iím working to make me a better person for you! And with every gelatin-covered swallow, you lose a little more of yourself, until you forget why youíre trying not to be an asshole in the first place.
And then you stop taking your pills, and you remember that you love these people, you remember what it feels like to love them, but by then, youíre already fucking up again.
She stops mid-rant and tells me that I shouldnít be drinking. Tells me that the alcohol screws with the drugs.
ďIf I was taking the drugs, would we be having this conversation?Ē I ask her.
ďThis!Ē She screams at me. She waves her arms in a vague sweep, so Iím not real sure what sheís talking about, specifically. ďThis, right here, this is why I call you an asshole! You just stop taking your medication? You know what that does to you!Ē
What it does to me is, it makes me feel like a real life person, albeit one who doesnít make the best decisions. They say that without the medication, I canít relate to people, I canít empathize with people, I canít treat them like a normal human being treats people. Humane, is the word one doctor used.
What they donít understand is I can either be humane or I can be human. What they donít understand is that some humans just arenít very humane. What they donít understand is that even with the drugs, I canít empathize. My options are being selfish or being a robot. A zombie.
Iíd rather break hearts than eat brains.
Iíd rather have a broken heart than be heartless.
Iím always going to be broken, but at least if I skip the meds, I can enjoy it a little.
She grabs another bottle, and she doesnít hesitate this time. Grabs it off the white satin covered table and hurls it. Iím ready for her this time, and because Iím not all zonked out on prescription lobotomy, Iím not only able to dodge, I'm also able to read the label before she chunks it. Champagne, and if itís as generic as the whiskey is, Iím probably doing a favor for most of the wedding party. And they say I canít empathize.
The bottle shatters on the dance floor and barely even bubbles. Would have been like drinking stale, sugary piss. And they say I canít do nice things for other people.
ďI hate you!Ē She screams.
What do you say to that kind of thing? I suppose you could say something like, ďNo you donít,Ē but that doesnít really seem appropriate, especially if you arenít 100% sure. You could say something like, ďIím sorry,Ē but they donít believe that. They donít believe it because they donít understand it.
They donít understand how you could have a wonderful drive from Queens to Maine, renting a car, picking up your girl, enjoying a nice breakfast just outside the city as the sun rises, changing the world into a painting, thatís how perfect it is. You drive, you make jokes and you laugh and you talk about the future, and youíre amazed at how great life feels, youíre fucking amazed, because life hasnít felt this good in forever, and youíre telling yourself you should have stopped taking your meds a long time ago.
They donít understand how at the rehearsal dinner last night, you looked like the perfect couple, how you were the perfect couple, and thenÖthis.
They donít understandóshe doesnít understandóhow it was all so perfect and then you got a little too reckless in the coat closet with the bridesmaid and tumbled out with your pants around your ankles and her mouth around your cock.
The bridesmaid, she isnít even pretty! Thatís what she yells at me. She looks like a blown-out dough tube in that dress, and did you see that acne on her back?
Thatís what she yells at me, even though everyone is standing just behind the door, just outside the reception area. The fat, back-ne, dough-tube bridesmaid, sheís out there, too, and Iím sure it hurts her feelings that my girlfriend is screaming about her like that. And they say I donít care about others.
What do you say to that kind of thing?
I see movement in my peripheral vision, and turn just in time to see an old bald guy duck back behind the door. Weíre out on a patio, everything so draped in white that it almost looks like Halloween vandalism. Tables, chairs, the flooróall of it covered in white satin or white silk or white paper or white napkins or white flowers. It would look pretty if it didnít look so desperate.
Thereís a handprint on one of the table clothes, a little brown handprint where a little boy touched it with frosting on his hands. He was crawling out of his chair and reached for the tablecloth. Something he probably does twenty times a day at home. He did it like it was a natural thing, but when his mother saw what he did do the silk table cloth, she took him around the building and beat his ass. You can still hear him sobbing, and his mother frantically shushing him. She wants to hear whatís going on in here just as much as everyone else does.
They act like this is an embarrassment, just like my girlfriend does. The thing is, this was bound to happen. This is one of those things, just like the kid with his dirty hand on the table cloth, you know? One of those things that happens so regular that you canít go public and expect it not to happen, no matter how much you threaten. No matter how much you promise, no matter how much you warn.
Me and the kid with the dirty hands, we should go grab a Mountain Dew, some cookies, and play some video games. Heíd understand. Kids are all insane.
Theyíre all selfish, self-absorbed, self-obsessed assholes. Theyíre all like me, until we train it out of them.
You catch it early, these days. This broken switch, this thing that makes you wrong. The kid with the dirty hands, heíll probably be medicated before the car trip home. He wonít ever know what it is to live life as something other than a zombie, so heíll never know that it isnít right.
Heíll never know that itís better to live unable to empathize and love rather than to live unable to hurt others. Heíll never know that life is a mistake you canít fix with a pill.
Unless itís the morning after pill.
These are my thoughts, and that last one makes me laugh. In case you donít empathize, in case you canít relate, laughing is not the proper response in this situation, no matter what youíre thinking.
ďYou think itís funny?Ē
ďYou fuck. Laugh your ass home.Ē
With that, she storms out, through all the guests gathered on the other side of the door, shoving the fat bridesmaid out of the way, knocking the dirty-handed crying kid down. She looks super sexy as she storms away, and I canít help itóI lift my camera and take a few pictures.
She turns back to me, enraged, and I still canít help itóI push the little silver button, and the shutter clicks.
ďYou motherfucker!Ē She begins storming back towards me, and no matter how apathetic you are, no matter how much you don't understand people or relate to them, you know she wants to yank the camera away and destroy it. I take another picture. Another. Another.
ďTheyíll look great in your portfolio,Ē I tell her. ďAngry is really your thing.Ē And they tell me I canít think like other people.
She stops. Flips me off. CLICK. Glares at me. CLICK.
ďI hate you,Ē she says again.
What do you say to that?
ďI know,Ē I tell her.
ďAnd you look great doing it,Ē I tell her. I want to believe that she's hurt. I want to believe that she hates me. But you never really believe what you don't understand.
The tears running down her face donít do her nearly as much justice, but I manage to take another three pictures before she rushes back through the doors. I take a few pictures as I wade through the crowd on the other side of the door, but mostly Iím wanting to get out to the other side of the house.
I get a really good shot of her slamming her dress in the car door, and quite a few really nice pictures of her speeding away.
And then I turn around real quick and take a series of shots of the crowd as they watch, and then as they pretend that they werenít watching. And they say I donít relate.
They say I donít feel.
They say Iím apathetic.
I know people all too well, and maybe thatís why I am how I am. Or maybe thatís just a rationalization.
Maybe Iím just broken.
But who isnít?
I look for the girl with the best tits, and I ask her, is she from New York.