When You’re Strange, A repost
Don’t you love the Doors? But this isn’t about music, except for one more passing reference. Ray Stevens would be aghast. The song lyrics might as well be, “Everyone is strange in their own way.”
For decades now, my wife has said I’m strange. I welcome the epithet as an amusing truth. “Why Be Normal?” the buttons and stickers ask. Just so. There is a time and place for eccentricity and normality. Earning a living may require a modicum of the latter—depending on the work one does. It certainly did for the day job from which I retired some time ago. But let’s get back to strange.
We had met before at one Buddhist activity or another. Attending that Halloween party quickly took us to a level of intimacy neither of us had expected. A familiarity that only a few years later led to marriage. The marriage faced a life-or-death challenge initially, but that’s another story. That story is a central part of the memoir, Waiting for Westmoreland. This post is a teensy weensy memory about our strange beginning.
We’re both into sci-fi. That inspired our costumes for the party. She came as an alien. Her hair had an unnatural shade, with face and exposed flesh covered in matching silver. An alternating black and silver diagonally striped lame knit covered her torso. I came as Gully Foyle, Alfred Bester’s protagonist from The Stars My Destination. I couldn’t quite master the tiger face tattoo, so I just lettered my forehead “Nomad” in black grease paint. You’ll have to read the book to understand. I added a long maroon caftan and a walking stick to complete the image.
We danced together, and we danced alone. I twirled around my head-high staff to the thrilled amusement of another partygoer. Thirty is a great time to indulge and flaunt one’s strangeness. It’s never left me. It manifests in many other ways these days. What’s life without loosening the strictures of normalcy? Lighten up. Have fun! She and I did, mixing our facial paint that Halloween night.
I miss those Halloween trick-or-treaters at our suburban home in Virginia. My faces were much scarier than those of the kids who came for candy. Alas, the seclusion of our dream home in New Mexico means we see no children on that October night. But there are other ways to bring out the strange. Perhaps a topic for another day.