Not all people annoy me. Or at least, not all of the people all of the time.
“You can be very annoying,” you say.
“Yes,” I answer. “What is your point, exactly?
People, by themselves, are not always annoying enough to reach my radar. It usually takes an extension of themselves: their pet dog or brood of children - to really get under my skin. You see, most people believe that they are god’s gift to mankind. And, just in case no one has gotten the point, they send out their dogs and children to get into the face of anybody who might otherwise ignore them. You’ve been there: kids running rampant through the aisles in the supermarket, screaming at the top of their lungs when something is refused - dogs barking in the middle of the night while their owners sleep peacefully and leave the rest of us to toss and turn in despair.
Now, I like animals. Actually like them much more than people. There is probably a name for that ( there is a name for everything these days). Maybe it is because both animals and I don’t talk much. Much more into observing. So, the other night, at 1:30 in the morning, I went out and picked up some stones on the way to confront the dog who was barking behind my house. Getting there, I found a dog tied up outside of a house. He saw me and wagged his tail with a huge dog smile, glad to welcome a human presence so late at night/early morning. What could I do, then? Throw a stone at him? So I left him to it and went back to bed, cursing the moron who should have never been allowed to have a dog, much like many parents who should have never been allowed to have children.
If you find this not to be politically correct, so far, I can only say that it is going to get worse. But in order to partially placate your delicate sense of fair play, I will no longer brand people as “annoying”. Rather, let’s just say that they are “socially challenged”.
Actually, I am just as socially challenged as anyone else, but I keep it to myself. Which most people consider annoying. You see, I can sit at a party, or dinner, or any other social event a whole night and say nothing. Most people will probably pass this off as my not being intelligent enough to take part in their riveting conversation. Other people attribute my silence to my not finding them, or their conversation, interesting. And this really pisses them off. You are supposed to mingle in social situations. And if you don’t have anything interesting to say, making a fool out of yourself is just as socially acceptable.
“What are you, socially autistic?” you ask.
“I have never thought about it in that way,” I answer. “But now that you mention it, the shoe fits.”
The irony of it all is that I am not a people person (if you haven’t already guessed), yet I have spent almost all of my adult life living in small communities (we are talking about less than a thousand souls - not counting the dogs). This brings me into more contact with people than I would have, say, in the city. The first community (14 years of my life) was a kibbutz. The second community (20+ years and counting) is a small community on the edge of the Zin Wadi. When we first came here, the community was much smaller, almost everyone knew each other, and there was a feeling of common purpose in living here. This has changed over the years. What was once a cohesive community has turned into social anarchy. We could blame this on how quickly the community has expanded, as more and more people build houses here. Or on the fact that many people build houses only to rent them out at obscene prices in order to make a windfall. But the main factor may be that many people have recognized this is a place where they, their children and their dogs can live as free spirits. What others might call - “running wild”. But hey, let’s not quibble over semantics.
I mean, how many places do you know where you can let your dog run loose terrorizing children and bark all night terrorizing aspiring sleepers, without any fear of being called into account. Yes, we do have a “residents committee” which has promised to work towards “enriching” our communal experience. And yes, like most good committees, they keep sending us newsletters telling us about how they are going to round up dogs on the loose and call their owners into account. For about ten years, we have seen these proclamations repeatedly. Haven’t seen them in a while though, probably because a dog chews them up, just as two dogs chewed up our Friday newspaper which was dropped off early morning by the paper boy. Did the dog owner offer to buy us a new newspaper? No, he simply cleaned the mess of torn fragments off of his OWN lawn.
“Bitter. You think I sound bitter? No, not at all. That is one of the advantages of being a socially autistic and cynical pessimist. You don’t hold high expectations.”
“The name of the small community where I am living now? I think I will keep this to myself. Otherwise, you’re so vain, you’ll probably think this blog is about you.