I used to work with a woman who was so in love with the idea of being a Southern Belle that she would blanch (Or perhaps I should say Blanche in this instance) at the word “toilet”. She insisted that a lady would only use the word “commode” and then only if forced into that disagreeable topic of conversation. If she could have worn white gloves and a picture hat to work, with her hair swept up in a tasteful chignon, she would have. The thing is she was born in New York City.
I also knew a guy that was such a pathological, yet harmless, liar that no one took him seriously about anything. If he wasn’t buying 100 dozen roses every year for his wife on Valentine’s Day, he was saving a little old lady from a gang of muggers. On a Sunday. With both arms in plaster casts. Oddly, he seemed to think everyone believed him, and often I thought he believed himself. So sad that he felt he had to do this to be liked.
Someone else I know would read fanciful novels and for a time would behave like one of the characters. One day she’d be a damsel in distress, and the next she’d be more like Xena, warrior princess. She wasn’t in her own little world. She was in someone else’s.
Then there’s the overly muscled guy (you know the type, with the veins right on the surface?) who used to say “The ladies love me.” In fact, I never met a woman who didn’t find him repulsive in mind, body and spirit. Just thinking about him makes me shudder.
And then there was the guy in college who wore dark sunglasses and a baseball cap and walked around with earbuds in his ears. In four years, no one could recall ever carrying on a conversation with him. I kind of felt sorry for him. He may as well have worn a t-shirt that said “Back off!!!”
I’m fairly sure none of these people knew they weren’t operating in the realm of reality. They’d created a little world for themselves and they found a way to dwell there quite comfortably. But that makes me nervous, because if they don’t know, how can anyone know? Maybe we all do it and don’t know. Which begs the question: What’s real?
[Image credit: trends4ever.com]