Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Illusion of Normalcy- Part 1

"Yikes!" I announce while updating iCal. I have been looking at the events in the next two weeks, and just realized how soon my grandpa is visiting! And he's going to stay at our house…double yikes!
I look around my room. Clothing and books litter the floor. Messy, but not unusual. The door is covered in signage: "Beware of autistic person!" "No Internet memes!". Oh, dear…A large sign on the wall helps me remember to do things like shower and zip my pants. Definitely abnormal.

I walk out into the hallway. Our floor-to-ceiling mirror is decorated with lists of homophones and, in giant letters: "ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US". A 1up mushroom and a Piranha Plant lurk next to a monkey sticker. I think it's interesting. Mother thinks we'd better clean it up. (She's probably right.)

I continue my tour of our house, searching for the odd and abnormal things we'll have to remove or hide. A list of fats is taped to the refrigerator–the unhealthy saturated fats are marked with a skull and crossbones.  Every bathroom mirror reads: "Public service announcement: always check the toilet for giant sewer rats!". A paper Swiss cheese on a spring is stuck to our magnet board. The door to the laundry room bears a warning: "Poisonous gases!" Everywhere there are sesquipedalian announcements about preventing ant invasions. A giant drawing of Jigglypuff is magnetized to my brother's dartboard. In several places, I have carefully written "THE CAKE IS A LIE" with a dry-erase marker, just as it appeared in Portal.
Just to clarify matters, our house is not a dump. My mother worked very hard to make it aesthetically pleasing, and kindly did not protest when I put a sign reading "LAIR" above my door, and we decorated the hallway with a life-size cardboard Mewtwo.

Before Grandpa comes, I imagine, we will go on a Weirdness Hunt, tracking down the unusual signage and wiping the mirrors clean. For a few weeks, our house will look like a normal family lives in it. Then, slowly, the weirdness will reappear. I will save the signs we remove and tape them back up after Grandpa leaves. My brother will decorate the mirror again. Maybe I'll decorate my door with Portal-style warning signs–in case you can't tell, Portal and Portal 2 is my newest temporary perseveration.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Worried about Worrying

I'm worried about plumbing problems. I'm also worried about car accidents. And Formosan Subterranean Termites, which are spreading across the US, can never be fully eradicated once they move in and are capable of wrecking a house in 3 months. (Now that you've read that, you're probably worried about them too.)
Just a few of my recent worries include: What if an earthquake happens while I'm in the kitchen and a stack of plates falls out of the cabinet and kills me? What if the light switch catches fire? What if a giant spark leaps out of the electrical outlet? What if there's a gas leak? I have so many worries, I'm worried I worry too much and will get an anxiety disorder!
And I used to have even more worries, such as: 'What if a murderer murders someone in the yard?' and 'What if the door flies off the dishwasher while it's running and soap floods the kitchen?' Eventually those vanished when my parents explained how ridiculous they were.*

People say worrying doesn't solve anything, but I think it does…in some cases. If you worry about clogged plumbing, you'll avoid dropping hair in the toilet, averting an expensive disaster. But if you're worried about alien invasion…that probably won't help you in life. (In fact, worrying about aliens could mark you as a nutcase.) The conclusion: Rational worries are good as long as you don't have too many. And don't worry about aliens; they might be friendly.

*I try to worry only about real dangers, but in the absence of a contradiction from a more reliable source, I accepted "facts" such as "If you come upon a dead body unexpectedly you'll go insane!". Misinformation creates irrational worries; information corrects them.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The 'Atypical Look'

Last weekend my mother decided she needed a pair of sandals to match her new purse. So she went out to the mall…and took me along. She said I needed new sandals too (and if you ask her, I also need new shirts and pants, a new pair of boots, a cute skirt…everything).
We entered through Nordstrom's, hoping to avoid the mall; but, failing to find acceptable sandals, Mother decided to look elsewhere.
Out in the mall, Mother darted off into various stores, dragging me along to point out clothes she wished I would wear. "You'd look so cute if I dressed you!" she tells me. "You should wear stuff like this!"
Why? I think. I like my clothes. They all match each other so it's easy to get dressed.
"You need to buy new shirts!" she exclaims. "Yours are all worn out!"

My mother is not a shopaholic; in fact, we rarely go shopping. She just wants me to look good. The problem: I think I look fine.
Some of my shirts are speckled with tiny holes; the result of hungry silverfish and crickets, but none have the large chocolate-smoothie stains my brother gets everywhere. And aren't worn-out pants in style? Most of my clothes are different shades of blue, but that means I don't have to worry about matching…though apparently I dress like a middle-aged office worker, all in plain shirts and navy or brown pants. It keeps things simple. Albert Einstein had 5 identical suits because he was too busy discovering relativity to think about clothes.

I know I don't dress like other teenagers, but I am completely unbothered by that fact. I prefer not to wear things like those shirts that fall off one shoulder, which reminds me of cavemen, or ripped skinny jeans. It takes a lot of thought to dress that way and I already have too much to think about. If my mother didn't remind me, I would forget to comb my hair or zip my pants. I'm like the absent-minded professor…except I'm not absent-minded. I remember everyone's phone numbers and how to spell pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, which is spelled exactly how it sounds. Also, I'm not a professor.