Friday, 24 July 2015

On Strangeness, Madness, and Being Ignored.

Very few people talk to me these days. My conversational partners are generally limited to Mel, who’s almost as strange as me, and checkout operators in Sainsbury’s. I say something like ‘Did you know that your name comes from the Russian for Christmas?’ and she replies ‘Really? I didn’t know that. I was a June baby so I doubt my parents knew it either.’ At that point I consider whether to continue with ‘I don’t think many people do, and I assume it must indicate that the Russian for Christmas has a Latin root,’ but I usually desist since I realise that I’m already becoming insufferable and she just wants me gone so she can talk to the middle aged woman behind who will discuss sensible topics like the state of the weather, the price of baked beans, and how the country is going to the dogs since we started letting foreigners in.

One person who does occasionally exchange the odd word or two is my much respected friend Madeline from upstate New York, a true Renaissance woman. She tells me interesting things like the fact that the words idiot, imbecile and moron were clinical terms in the 19th century, indicating various levels of mental derangement. And her name abbreviates to Mad, which I think is a splendid coincidence. That’s the sort of thing I find worthy of further consideration, and it’s probably why few people talk to me these days. Sometimes I care, and sometimes I don’t.

(I wrote a post last night on the positive side of depression – it does have a positive side, you know – but decided there were a few people out there to whom I wouldn't wish to impart the details. It’s currently on the shelf.)

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