Friday, February 3, 2012

R We Who We R?

     I found the missing book for the boyfriend's birthday while browsing a Barnes 'n' Noble downstate.  He was preoccupied, so I dashed to the (well-hidden) checkout.  The girl behind the counter complimented my make up, which is something I always like.  But then she proceeded to go on and on and on about their rewards program, even after I explained we have none of their stores in my area.  Fearful of being caught, I told her I'd check it out, took my receipt, and shoved everything in my purse.  He was awed by my cunning when I told him the story after he opened the gift.  I believe he now has half a dozen books in his reading queue, which is quite impressive for someone who claims to not like reading.  He stayed up until almost 3 last night reading a book called Outliers (which he received for Christmas.)  Meanwhile, I passed out over my copy of Catcher in the Rye.

     Ah, Salinger.  I admit I haven't read any of his other works, but Catcher in the Rye is one that I come back to again and again.  I first read it in high school for English, and I wasn't sure I liked it.  Sometimes I will go back to a book after a long period to see if my feelings on it change.  The past couple times, I found some of it boring and hard to follow.  This time, I finally get it.  I think Holden is, in a way, like everyone-- struggling.  In my earlier years though I had been through some rough things, I still lacked the cynicism to appreciate his thinking.  Now, after a number of years living 'in the real world' (and in a job that requires servicing others), I can relate a little too well.  If Holden were a real person and I met him, I might kind of think he's an ass.  He is, for one, a self-proclaimed liar.  He loves to mess with people, and anyone who is any less straightforward than myself pisses me off (meaning that the general populace drives me mad.) 

     Being in his head, however, changes things considerably.  I get it.  He gets it.  We're similar people, which momentarily makes me wonder if I should worry.  But no, Holden and I are right-- people as a whole are ignorant, phony, automatic.  I have been told numerously by different people that I am socially awkward.  I lack the grace, the finesse, the ability to win people over with nauseating charm.  At first those words hurt, but now I'm kind of okay with that.  Social acceptability is a trap.  Play by the rules, and you find you must do this do that be this think that don't say do think act out of line.  The thing is, I am bold.  Some would say tactless, and perhaps that's true.  The thing I can't figure out, though-- when did honesty and cold hard truth become outlawed?

     I feel as though I've gotten way off topic, ended up turning in a direction I never meant to follow.  Oddly, I'm okay with that.  So maybe, if you've made it this far, you can answer this question-- why isn't it okay to be real?