…or not.

You know that kid in high school that no one really liked? The one people stopped picking on, for the most part, around tenth grade but still didn’t want anything to do with. The one who usually ate in a stairwell or the library or some dark corner with a book.

You know that weird person at your office? The one no one seems to really understand — or maybe if the office is big enough, the other weird reject person seems to understand. The one who eats lunch alone most days, often with a book.

Or you know that person you’re sure is messing with you, being mean to you, or trying to make you feel dumb because he answers what you think are simple questions with things you don’t quite understand, have more information than you wanted, or are too full of hypotheticals?

Or that person you feel confident bullying because no one can send you to detention anymore? And no one’s going to call you out because you’re still the one with all the friends?

Yeah, I’m that weirdo. I’m that coworker who doesn’t know who was on American Idol, who hasn’t seen a single episode of Mad Men, who can’t remember the last time she was at the movies. The one you’re convinced is a snob or a hermit or just plain crazy. The one you can’t relate to, so you tell yourself it’s her and not you because you’re the normal one who’s watching Sports with the Boys or America’s Next Top Model with the girls.

It’s just. Well. I don’t really care who wins those competition shows. And I worked in advertising in this century. I don’t know that I want to relive a more sexist era of selling. And, there are shows I enjoy. It’s just. I’ve met me. I know how easy it is to turn on the TV and leave it on until bedtime. And. Get. Nothing. Done. I can’t keep track of TV schedules. I don’t want to pay for a DVR. I need to go work out. Because working out keeps me from punching you when you make the fortieth snide comment behind my back loudly enough for me to hear like we’re still fourteen.

And it’s. Well. I don’t care about the Dolphins, but you get all upset when I care about the dolphins because they’re “just fish” (except the ones I was talking about that day were mammals and the ones that are just fish have their own issues but you don’t want to know about that either). And the same thing for the Marlins. And the Heat. And the Panthers. I do like going to the Strikers games, but honestly, I’m not watching the game. The crowd is far more interesting.

And it’s not that I didn’t care about your ads. I did. I wanted them to be right. I wanted them to make sense. And you wanted me to have input but only if it were the right kind, which translated to whatever you would say and I’m not you.

Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not that I don’t care about the kids, either. It’s that I find it physically impossible to care more than they do. I don’t care about your novel more than you do. I don’t care more about your house than you do. I don’t care more about your diploma than you do. I mean, you show up, you try, you do your best most of the time and I will do my best to help you pass and get your credits and move on. You have a bad day, a bad week, whatever. Deal with your shit and then we’ll get back to getting you your credits and moving you on.  You spend six months playing with your hair? You spend all period talking about stealing money from your parents to buy pills a a club? You spend weeks on end discussing which houses to hit next? You stop coming altogether? You tell me you can’t be bothered reading the problem, when I have mountains of proof you know how to read? You Christmas-tree every test so you can argue over which “hos” you’d fuck? All day? For weeks and months on end? Get real! You don’t care. Don’t tell me I have to.

Don’t tell me we’re going to play imaginary games and expect me to take it seriously. Don’t ask my opinion if you don’t want it. Don’t open the gate and march up the lane expecting a warm welcome. Likewise, don’t get all huffy and pitch a fit when you don’t get the warm welcome. I was alone along time and I liked it that way. I was used to it.

Even after fifteen years of marriage, the Husband still finds days when I’m not all there. Or here. Or wherever he is. I’m inside. Doing and thinking my own things. And, as much as I love him, he’s not invited. Which, works out because he has those days, too. And we understand that about each other.

The rest? Don’t presume to know me. You don’t. We have more in common than you think. But also less. And they probably aren’t the things you think they are.

If you want to get to know me, understand it takes time. There is no welcome mat. There’s a moat full of alligators. There’s a soul-eating cat on the roof. And there are spiders around all the eaves. You gotta get past all that, over all that, make friends with that.

Nutmeg did.