Everyone has traits that are opposites of each other like a good twin and evil twin in our souls. No one is entirely good nor entirely evil–e.g., Hitler loved animals–which means there’s a lot of gray area inside every human.
Opposing forces live inside of all of us and we wonder how we get through the day with the constant bickering. These are some of my strange opposites.
I don’t like people much; I live in one of the largest cities in the world
I’m not entirely sure how a misanthropic hermit wound up in Los Angeles for fifteen long years (it will be sixteen years on Dec. 23rd), yet here I am sitting in the middle of nearly twenty million neighbors. Last night, there was a fist fight between strangers in front of my house. The cops showed up. Someone puked on my lawn. This probably wouldn’t happen if I lived in a small town in Nebraska. Yet, I could never live in a small town again.
When I was in high school, my parents moved to the suburbs outside of Detroit. It was still technically the Detroit metro area, but it was so insular that it might as well have been a small town in the middle of nowhere. One night, one of my mom’s friends called her to tell her she had just seen me smoking a cigarette outside of Dairy Queen. My mom knew what I was doing before I got home from doing it.
Just thinking about all my neighbors knowing my business gives me the willies. I love the anonymity a big city affords. I just don’t like all the people I have to put up with the get it.
I hate traffic; I live in Los Angeles
One of the problems with having twenty million neighbors is that, at any given time, a quarter of them are in my way. Los Angeles is renown for its terrible traffic. If you know nothing else about LA, you probably know Hollywood and traffic.
Los Angeles has some of the oldest freeways in the country before we knew how to design such things. Back when freeways were invented, cars traveled about as fast as your average greyhound, i.e., fast for a dog, not fast for a car. The oldest freeway on the west coast is the 110, which isn’t even really a freeway. Its tiny lanes wend from downtown Los Angeles to Pasadena and back. The entrances have stop signs.
Think about that for a second. You have to merge with fast-moving traffic only after coming to a complete stop. It’s no wonder that idea didn’t really catch on. Unfortunately, because the 110 literally goes through mountains with a series of tunnels, there’s no room to widen it or add proper entrance lanes. I hate to think how many hours of my life have been wasted sitting in Los Angeles traffic.
I don’t care about material possessions; I constantly worry about money.
I’m one of those people who doesn’t care one bit whether I’m trendy. I wear clothes that fit and are comfortable regardless of fashion. My daily wardrobe is t-shirt, jeans, sneakers, hoodie. I’ve essentially been wearing the same clothes since high school. In some cases, actually since high school:
I drive cars until they don’t drive anymore. I use phones and computers until they don’t work anymore. I just went to the sewing store last weekend to buy patches to fix my favorite jeans that other people would have thrown away. I don’t care about new or hip or in. I just don’t care.
Yet, my biggest worry is always money. I just shelled out $1200, because the computer that controls the transmission in my car was brain dead. I had to borrow the money to fix it. I don’t care about material possessions, yet money is my constant concern.
I like a clean house; I hate cleaning
Sunday is cleaning day at my house. I have a dog and a cat, so the bare minimum required weekly cleaning is vacuuming, emptying the trash and the cat litter box. I’m allergic to ammonia. No one likes the smell of ammonia, but it makes my breathing apparatus seize up and not do its job properly. If exposed to it enough, my airways will close and I will die. Yet, I have a cat whose pee is comprised of ammonia. Not only is cleaning the litter box just generally an unpleasant task, but for me, it’s life threatening.
Added to my distaste for scooping potentially fatal pee out of a box is the fact that I hate vacuum cleaners almost as much as my cat does, but for different reasons:
I have always hated vacuuming. I hate hardwood floors, because you can’t walk around barefoot on them without getting crap stuck to the bottom of your feet even if you just cleaned them five minutes ago, but I’d take hardwoods over carpet any day just because you don’t have to vacuum them.
I hate shoes; I have a lot of them
Speaking of barefoot, the first thing I do when I get home is take my shoes off. I absolutely hate wearing shoes. My sister takes her bra off the second she gets home–a completely reasonable thing to do, because bras are the worst invention ever–but for me, it’s shoes. I hate them. I don’t like having my feet restrained. I don’t like having to match socks after doing laundry. I don’t like tying them and untying them. Yet, even with my hatred of shoes, I have this many:
I like being invisible; people remember me
As I mentioned before, I like the anonymity of living in a huge city. I know the neighbors in my building and always say hello when passing. I know the people who live around me by sight. That’s the guy who lives in the gray building across the street, etc. They probably know me by sight, too, but I don’t know their names. I like it that way.
Yet, for whatever reason, I seem to be memorable. Perhaps it’s my height or tattoos or blonde hair, but even if I went to a restaurant once three years ago, the server will remember me if I go again. Not only that, they’ll remember my preferences, too. “No onions, right?” Uh, yes? It kind of detracts from the whole anonymous thing. I can never rob a liquor store without a ski mask.
UPDATE: Shortly after writing this post, my sister and I went out to lunch at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants. We did the math and realized we hadn’t been there since our parents were in town at the beginning of the year. It’s a family tradition to have Chinese food on New Year’s Day. Our server said, “It’s been a while! Orange chicken?” True story.
I’m not chatty; people chat to me.
Like my grandfather and father before me, I’m a person of few words. Y’all probably think of me as chatty, because I write stuff on the internet, but in person, it’s a different story. I don’t speak for the sake of speaking; I talk when I have something to say. Yet, I was born into a family with the curse that people love spilling their whole life stories to us. Random strangers love talking to us. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told, “We just met, but I feel like I know you so well!” I guess we just have the kinds of faces that seem friendly or perhaps it’s from growing up in the Midwest where people are friendly. Whatever the reason, it’s a problem.
I’m not fond of children; they love me
I don’t have children. I don’t want children for a number of valid reasons, but a major reason I don’t have any is that I really just don’t like them. They’re loud, unpredictable, in the way, messy, and they constantly do idiotic things–literally idiotic things, like sticking their hands on hot stoves and putting every little thing they happened to pick up in their mouths. These are the kinds of things that will get you killed without constant supervision and eighteen years of “stop that!” is more than I can handle. Plus, they spend years thinking pooping in their pants is an entirely reasonable thing to do.
In the same way that cats will purposely seek out the one person in the room who doesn’t like them or is allergic, kids are drawn to me. If there’s a baby in a stroller, it will crane its neck just to stare at me a second longer. I never have any peace in restaurants. They either stare at me like deranged stalkers, or if their parents aren’t paying attention (which is all too common in this age of free-range children), they’ll come over to me and try to hand me their spit-soaked toy. No, thanks. Go away.
I’m not fond of children; my art is child-friendly
Probably the strangest of all the dichotomies of me is the fact that a lot of my art is kid-friendly and I’ve even written a children’s story or three. I don’t like children, yet a lot of the clothes I’ve sold are baby onsies or kid-sized t-shirts. There are children in the world who are pooping in my clothes and sleeping under duvet covers I created. I’ve even drawn a damn animal alphabet. Adults typically already know the alphabet, so this can only be for children:
What are your opposing forces?