Sunday, August 01, 2010

A beautiful benchmate

We went to the downtown library for some free music again last night. I think this is a really nice thing they do - bringing in bands (who play for no money), to give people something to do, many who otherwise would have nothing to do. There is a beer tent, and Dunkin Donuts is open in the library, and there are usually some people making balloon hats for the kids, and plenty of skaters and bike people, young people, old people, poor people, rich people, and hippies. There appears to be a good number of homeless too. I think it's about as interesting looking at people's tattoos and piercings, and reading t-shirts, as it is listening to some of the music. Some people bring their own lawn chairs or blankets, but we just try to find a bench or lean against the rail.

Anyway, last night we got a bench seat along the west side. We sat there for quite awhile beside this guy who was very intently drawing or writing the entire time, and he was chain-smoking cigarettes - lighting one from the other (possibly because he didn't have a lighter). He held his cigarettes in the oddest way too, and he looked like he was deep in thought the entire time. Finally he said something to me - I'm not even sure what it was now - but we struck up a conversation. He asked where we lived, and then went on to talk about how hard it was for him to live in such a small town. I shared how Fort Wayne was not small compared to where we were from, but we both concluded it was all relative. So then I asked what he had been writing or drawing. He said he was writing, and he showed me some of it. It mostly looked like chicken scratches, and I'm not at all sure it was coherent in any way, but he started explaining that he was working on a new system of government for the entire world. He explained the history of our country, and several others, and said he might start just with Africa and then move on from there. It was odd, because, he really did sound intelligent, and was obviously educated, and was very soft-spoken and articulate. However, the more I listened to him, it finally dawned on me that he was possibly out of his mind too. He really believed himself though, and maybe what was scariest was that it made such beautiful sense to me. Then it hit me that he reminded me of the guy in the movie 'A Beautiful Mind' (only he was black). What made it even weirder was when I realized that I might even be talking to myself (with a big 'fro and much taller than I really am)!

This summer an old friend told me how someone had told them - when Jane and I started dating - that they couldn't believe she would date someone like me, because "I thought I was an INDIVIDUAL." I was rather taken aback by this, because I always thought I was friends with the person who said this about me, and had no idea that they thought so lowly of me. It was quite humbling to wonder how many of the people I used to know thought I was nothing but a bumbling idiot; a 'beautiful mind' with no 'fro; someone who sits around the library downtown and thinks I'm making some kind of sense...

I actually do feel like that a lot. Like I'm not taken seriously by anyone. And why would I be. This is why I have such a hard time fitting in, I suppose. I am no one to be reckoned with; a person of no consequence; and yet I continue to open my mouth at so many of the wrong times and with the wrong people. That's a lot of why I have this blog... because it doesn't matter, and I just end up frustrated when I participate elsewhere or try to act like I know something. I guess I am an individual. Not that that's a good thing. It is what it is.

Anyway, later on we wandered over to the side of the stage and watched some little kids dance. This one kid had his shoes on the wrong feet, and he was in love with my wife because she smiled at him, and he was having the time of his life. They all were. No benches, no afros, no blogging. Life was good there for that moment. Then night gave way to darkness, and beauty fades into the real.