A Man Questions His Sanity...
Believe it or not, this is not a true story.
Picture if you will, the following: four white walls, three dirty windows, two squeaky doors, but alas, no partridge, nor a pear tree. It's 11o'clock at night and one of the doors is open in order to share some of my hot stale air with the outside world. As I am writing this, a shadow appears on my rickety porch. I'm watching in horror as the shadow grows larger. I'm holding my breath! Something or someone is about to come into my house!
"Whew," I say to myself, and let out a sigh of relief. It's only Salem, the black cat from next door. He's adopted me, as well as this house, and he considers this his 'home away from home'.
Which brings me back to what I was saying to begin with.
The walls, the windows, and the doors are not just my home. They seem to serve more as my asylum. Rarely do I allow myself to venture into the outside world.
You see, I'm agoraphobic.
Now a lot of people might think that I have a fear of agoras (an Israeli monetary unit and coin equal to 1/100 of a shekel—trust me, I looked it up). But that isn't the case at all. Agoraphobia is the abnormal fear of being in open or public spaces.
However, I probably wouldn't be agoraphobic if it weren't for the fact that I'm also anthropophobic, which is the abnormal fear of people. And people have a tendency to assemble in open or public spaces.
It's not easy being me.
This fear of people is not limited to just any certain type of people. You could be short, fat, tall, thin, green or carbonated. It doesn't matter. If you belong to the human race (or anything approximating it), I'm sorry; you scare the Hell out of me.
I wasn't always this way. There was a time in my life in my late teens and early twenties when I was actually popular. I was an outgoing, beer loving, woman chasing rapscallion. People enjoyed my company, and I enjoyed theirs. My loquacity (I looked that one up, too) with civilization had no limit.
But no longer do I share my grandiloquence (yep, that one too) with society. Instead, it's reserved for Salem, my television, or usually myself. Which really isn't so bad, except when I talk to myself I tend to use big words like 'loquacity' and 'grandiloquence', and then I realize I don't understand what I'm saying to myself.
It's a good thing I have a big dictionary.
At this point, I suppose you might think I'm a few cans short of a six pack, which is true, both figuratively and literally. But weren't some of the greatest writers in history a little bit 'mad'? A certain Mr. Poe comes to mind, though I often wonder if he was writing about his madness, or if his writing was the cause of his madness.
Salem just came out of the kitchen, licking his chops. I guess he found the food I left out for him.
Anyway, I really don't know why people frighten me so much. I guess paranoia could be one factor.
Par·a·noi·a (according to Webster's New World Dictionary): a mental disorder characterized by systemized delusions of grandeur or, esp., persecution, often, except in a schizophrenic state, with an otherwise relatively intact personality.
Damn. I'm sicker than I thought. I think.
But I don’t have any systemized delusions of grandeur, and I’m pretty sure I’m not schizophrenic. But just to make sure, I’ll have my friend, Frankie, look it up for me.
“What’s it say?” I ask Frankie.
“It says here that schizophrenia is a major mental disorder of unknown cause typically characterized by a separation between the thought processes and the —”
“Shut up!” I tell Frankie. “I don’t need to know any more.”
“Fine, I’ll leave.”
Good. Frankie just left. I don’t like him, anyway.
‘A major mental disorder’, huh? That doesn’t sound so good.
Why are you looking at me like that, Salem?
“Because you’re nuts,” he says. He’s not really saying that. But I know he’s thinking it. “You’re whacko. You’re crazy. And according to this ‘Roget’s Pocket Thesaurus’, you’re insane, cracked, crackbrained, touched, unhinged, bereft of reason, insensate, demented, maniacal, beside oneself, daft, frenzied, deranged, maddened, and moonstruck.”
Alright, Salem. I get your point.
“It also says you’re delirious, lightheaded, rambling, wandering, delusional, frantic, and stark raving mad.”
That’s enough, Salem.
“You’re also vertiginous.”
Go home, Salem.
“Hold on. I want to look that one up. Let me see that dictionary.”
You’re just thinking that, Salem. You’re not really talking to me.
“Are you sure about that? Who was that ‘Frankie’ person you were just talking to?”
He’s a friend of mine.
“Yeah, right. And I’m really talking to you right now.”
You’re not talking. You’re thinking.
“Well, I’m thinking pretty LOUD then, aren’t I?”
I need to lie down.
“What you need to do is go see a psychiatrist. “
Just go, Salem. The door’s wide open. I didn’t exactly invite you here.
“Fine. I’ll leave. That finger you left in the bowl didn’t taste that good anyway. But will you do me one favor before you pass out?”
“Look up ‘vertiginous’.”
Well, I’m still looking at four white walls. But I don’t think they’re the same four white walls, because there’s not any dirty windows. In fact, there’s no windows at all. And only one door. It’s closed. I’m pretty sure they keep it locked, so I guess they don’t want me going anywhere.
That’s cool though. Where would I go? I’m agoraphobic. I’m anthropophobic. I’m schizophrenic.
And according to Salem and Roget, I’m stark raving mad!
Salem’s here, though. He says he talked to Frankie.
“So what did Frankie have to say?”
“Well, he said that according to Webster’s New World Dictionary, vertiginous means 'unstable'.”
“Thanks, Salem. You want another finger? I still have seven left, not counting my thumbs.”