Things Are Not What They Seem

If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn't be, it would. You see?

About fifteen years ago I was sharing living space with a couple. They had a fight. The first evening one of the couple told me their story and I noticed that she gave herself a lot of the responsibility for the acrimony. The next day I heard from the other partner. I was amazed that they both told nearly the same story. They both were honest about their troubles and took responsibility for their own stuff. Sounds healthy and perhaps it was, but they still broke up.

Earlier this week I heard the guy side of another couple's spat and just this morning I got the gal side. He was very critical of her behavior and nearly as insightful about his own failures relationship-wise. She, on the other hand, made it out to be all his fault and uttered not one word about her own collusion in what for me is a very dysfunctional coupling. I am sure they will stay together and maintain their mutual misery for many years.

The funny bone is not a bone, it is the spot where the ulnar nerve touches the humerus.

I had to do a bit of shopping this week. I really hated it. If something is not short-term consumable and perishable, I don't want it. I am so happy that all the furniture in the Berkeley apartment was already here when I moved in and won't go with me when I depart. I just don't like stuff, you might be say I have an aversion to possession. I may be developing an allergic reaction to consumerism.

A shooting star is not a star, it is a meteorite.

Yesterday, I was walking on Telegraph Ave. near the UC Berkeley campus when I noticed a scruffy and potentially high or drunk young man accosting passersby. Generally speaking such noxious persons tend to avoid me with their act because well ... I am a very large male. But when I got to his sidewalk stage he did indeed jump in my face and say: "Hey, what's up man?" 

In a low and threatening voice, I replied: "Move now!" He stepped aside immediately. Now you might think that was the reaction I expected, but it was not. Urban living has taught me that if such encounters take place, the instigator is beyond consideration for his own physical welfare and will generally persist, which escalates the situation. But that did not happen, he moved and I walked on.

On the way back home, on the other side of Telegraph, I noticed from a block away he was still playing his street theatre game but as came abreast of the scene, I also saw a young woman on my side of the avenue watching intently and taking notes. I walked up to her and said:

"Did you run your little project by a Human Subjects Committee?"

Her shocked expression told me I was right and this was some student experiment in urban culture.

"You didn't think of that did you?"

"Ah, no. But..."

"So you felt it was OK to annoy people and disrupt their pleasant Saturday here in Berkeley for your little .. what psychology project?"

"Urban Anthropology and I guess..."

"OK, here is what you do. Go over there and stop Ratzo before someone kicks his ass. Then write up your report and include our conversation. I assume the point of the assignment was for you to learn something about ethnographic research and if you think about it a bit, you should have gained some insight into the process and your professor will recognize that as well."

I walked away and she scurried across the street to pull the plug on the ill considered, over-staged data collection by artificial confrontation.

A piece of catgut is not from a cat, it is usually made from sheep.

Things are not what they seem, the first appearance deceives many. -- Phaedrus