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OrdinaryTimes 1.03-Alien

I hold this sneaking suspicion that I don’t belong. I’ve felt like a stranger everywhere I’ve lived, including ‘the old home place,’ which has now passed out of the family. Home seems an alien concept.

I’m uncertain how I came to feel this way. I was the designated oddball in my birth family, which might have helped form this sense, and I reveled in that role. In my late teen years, I grew my hair long, thereby becoming an instant outcast almost everywhere I went. Later, I lived in a succession of neighborhoods I didn’t feel safe in, where I didn’t know the neighbors very well and they didn’t know me, either. I never learned the corner store owner’s name, nor he mine.

I score really low on the hale-fellow-well-met scale. I’ve never cared to learn how to strategically make friends or influence people. I can’t read anyone’s mind, including my own.

I do possess alien powers, though. Within a half hour of checking into any hotel, I’ve located the best coffee and the best bread available in the area, and probably the best beer. My nose has proven almost infallible at sniffing out great places to eat. I can speed-orient anywhere, positioning myself for easy egress should the need to flee arise. I can walk down any street anywhere with the same ease with which I walk through my neighborhood. This might not be saying much because I walk warily where ever I am.

My OrdinaryTimes feel every bit as disorienting as my extraordinary ones. I moved back to my home town after a thirty year absence to find the place utterly different. The Muse chided me for giving directions by referring to places that had gone out of business thirty years before. “Nobody can take a left at Thrifty Drug because it doesn’t exist anymore!” The new development cluttered my internal map of the place, which still hasn’t re-calibrated itself.

My adult life used to be centered on a search for some place that felt like home, though that focus seems to have diffused. I revel in visiting friends’ homes. This appreciation might be less about location than feel, for I can vicariously experience what it might be like to be on a buddy basis with a neighbor and what it feels like to be anchored to a place, rather than tenuously tied up to a seemingly seasonal dock.

I can’t read my own mind, but I can read territory extremely well, and this perceptiveness might be my chief alien power. Since I never feel terribly settled in, I might be less susceptible to the narcosis routine instills. Like any alien, though, I do get lost a lot. Being naturally disoriented has its value. I’m surprised a lot, even if my surprise usually qualifies as peek-a-boo quality startle. Almost everyone else has already seen it enough times before that it’s no surprise at all. Still, I believe this a power because surprise can bring delight, and delight makes life sparkle.

My OrdinaryTimes sparkle.

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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