A Story for Our Time: Life is Strange

“I couldn’t care less how strange you are as long as you are kind…”

We didn’t mean to go to sea. I wonder now what we meant to do? I wonder where I was going when it happened? Life suddenly took a lurch in an entirely new direction. It seems that I have experienced some sort of amnesia about the whole event, a bit like when you go out and drink too much, the kind of too much where you wake up in the morning with an uncomfortable feeling and can’t remember how you got home last night. I don’t drink alcohol at all anymore; I gave it up to support a drinker in stopping, and never I went back to it. There were days when I drank enough to not remember quite what I had got up to the night before, but they were a long time ago and I don’t remember doing that before I got into my little boat, but I suppose that is the nature of not remembering things, you don’t remember the things you don’t remember.

There should be a Dr Seuss book called “The Things You Don’t Remember”! I do wonder why we remember some things and not others, and how the discernment happens in the brain. I realised years ago that I could consciously decide not to remember things I would prefer to forget, but only relatively small things. I deliberately don’t remember unpleasant things that happen in movies, and other things that I can’t remember because I decided not to remember them. The Things You Don’t Remember Because You Remembered To Forget!” – Another title for Dr Seuss.

It would be nice to forget some of the more major unpleasant things that have happened  in my life. I wonder why I can choose to forget some things and not others, and why I don’t seem to have that much choice in what I do remember? I suppose it is highly probable that I have forgotten some major unpleasantness, I just don’t remember!

I am very good at remembering the words to songs, if it has a tune I can remember it, I used this logic when I was studying environmental science in my late twenties, I set all the Latin names that I wanted to remember to music and hey presto I remembered them. Perhaps I should write a song featuring them in some way, that is if I can still remember them!

I also discovered a rather disconcerting thing about my memory, which was that the huge mountain of information that I learned for my exams disappeared shortly after I had written those exams, it was as if I had literally poured the facts out of my brain and onto the pages, like pouring water out of a jug. Jug head!

I wonder where I would rather be right now? There are people who believe that everything happens for a reason and you are where you are meant to be, but I think that it is easy to believe that if mostly only nice things have happened to you. I mean you are where you are, and I am where I am, I can’t be anywhere else, unless Quantum physics is to be believed. And in that case I can be in several different places at once, but if I was, surely I would remember them all, or not if I had chosen not to! In any case I am not so sure that I am actually anywhere at all, perhaps a point of longitude and latitude, but it is ever changing with the motion of the ocean.

I would rather be on the land, in a woodland, or on a beach on a desert island with dessert. I would have a large piece of chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream filling and cream roses and strawberries, sipping a glass of mango juice with fizzy water. I love chocolate cake, although I rarely eat it, but I have had the same chocolate cake with mocha icing made with the same recipe every year of my life on my birthday. I have no desire whatsoever to have a different cake on my birthday, I made that same cake for each of my children on each of their birthdays. That would mean, if I include the cakes on my siblings’ birthdays, I would have had that cake at least one hundred and twenty five times, give or take a few slices. Surely that makes that cake a tradition? Did that happen for a reason? I wonder what I can learn from chocolate cake with mocha icing? Is that cake where it is meant to be? (In my stomach, and on my mind). When I think about having a different cake on my next birthday I know that it is not a possibility. Does that mean I am stuck in my ways, a stick in the mud, or does it mean that I like chocolate cake? I don’t care what it means, what it means right now is that I am stuck on a boat with no idea where I am going, obsessing about cake.


It is all just a distraction really. I wake up in the night sometimes and wonder where I am. Sometimes it goes on for a few minutes, I look at my surroundings and I don’t recognise them at all, I have no idea where I am. I either find this scary or I don’t. After a while it wears off and I remember where I am. It is a very strange experience.

A friend said to me a couple of years ago “life is very strange” which kind of normalises the strangeness, if life is very strange then surely the strange things about it are just facts of life, making them normal, so I wonder why we still experience them as strange. Like the fact that we are hurtling through space in the orbit of a giant ball of fire, we might as well be on the Discworld resting on four huge elephants on the back of the giant turtle Great A’Tuin slowly swimming through space, it wouldn’t be any less believable than our current reality. Or any more strange. Strangeness is normal.

If strangeness is the accepted norm I wonder how people decide what is strange and then proceed to ostracise it. It could be that they have forgotten how strange life really is, or perhaps it is just a feature of living in this bizarre universe that people have a need to define what is strange and what is normal so that they can cling to something that they think is ordinary, or at least how things ought to be, and turn against the ultra strange. Really I suppose they are saying “You are not like me so I don’t like you”. People like to cluster in groups with other people who have some sort of similarity to them. It’s all too weird. What do you do when all the groups are too strange? I guess you just don’t get a group. But people like groups and definitions. Categorise me quickly please.

When I was in my teens I didn’t want to be defined or put into a box, which kind of created just the sort of category that I didn’t want to be in. It took me years to realise that I was searching for people who were different to the ‘norm’, but I was using the wrong criteria.

Criteria are fundamentally important to me now. Although I am rather unlikely to meet anybody out here (but I can live in hope – perhaps it will be like busses, no busses for hours and then three come at once!), I have honed my criteria. Now they are is simple, I want to find kind people. That’s it, one single criterion: kindness. Kindness is just the most wonderful thing. I couldn’t care less how strange you are as long as you are kind, and of course that you like chocolate cake with mocha icing.



Busking Animals Vienna Austria photo by Dominik Vanyi on Unsplash
Three Bearded Goblins photo by Brigitta Schneiter on Unsplash

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