Monday, May 31, 2010

On Appearing to Be Crazy

I am thankful for what I believe to be a keen ability to spot crazy people. Anyone can see the disheveled guy dancing down the street and wearing floaties despite a lack of nearby pools, but I would like to think that I can spot the more subtle indicators of crazy — occasionally emphatic hand gestures that serve no purpose, briefly flashed facial expressions that would be inappropriate for public comportment, minor wardrobe choices that reflect a fractured worldview and finally what I refer to “culprit posture.” These people are usually harmless, but I like to give them a wide berth anyway, just because there’s always a small chance that they’re the type of crazy person who will kill me on the spot but also because I don’t want to invade their crazy person space and set them off like some kind of human car alarm.

However, at times I am confronted with the notion that I may be harshly judging the people I pass on the sidewalk and that they may well be fairly sane people that I am catching in a bad moment. Take, for example, my walk home from the breakfast burrito emporium on Saturday morning, during which I remembered something funny that happened and then miserably failed to stifle giggles the entire walk home. Oh, I stopped laughing for maybe a minute or two — just long enough to turn the corner and encounter a new group of fellow sidewalk users who would witness my calm face giving way to uncontrollable laughter that to them was unwarranted and strange. I tried playing it off as coughing. I don’t think anyone bought it. And, of course, once I arrived home to eat my burrito, the urge to laugh left my body.

So if you saw me on Saturday and wondered if I might be mentally ill, please understand that I was remembering a funny thing and was not, in fact, laughing at invisible bunnies who were performing delightful acrobatic shenanigans.

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