When I was in college at FSU, many moons ago, I attended year round. I managed to finish my BA in 2 ½ years, but to do so required taking heavy loads and taking no breaks. Still, I wanted to enjoy some time with family, and so it was that during my second summer, my youngest brother flew down from Maryland to spend a week or two. We had a great time, but it was a story he told me during that time that I think about occasionally, when I see very odd, rather unexplainable behavior, on the blogs and elsewhere.
Ray was a paper boy and as such, went around to his clients’ houses on a regular basis to collect their payment. One afternoon as he was making his rounds, he approached a house not far from ours, but over a hill. He could not see our house from theirs. He rode up on his bike, dismounted and headed to the front door. As he approached, he noticed the garage door was open and in the opening stood a teenaged girl. She was screaming at him.
Ray was pretty frightened by her, for at 14 he had not yet hit his growth spurt and she was brandishing a gun. She told him that she would use it. Well, Ray did not tarry, and remounted his bike…as he did, the girl continued to scream and threaten him.
Ray rode his bike back to the house, on the way coming across a few of his friends. He stopped to tell them the story, and being boys, they wanted to see for themselves. They “casually” rode back past the house, and sure enough, the girl was ranting and raving, and now was brandishing a bottle of some nature, which she hurled at them.
Again, they beat a hasty retreat, this time going all the way home and reporting the incident to Dad. Dad and my stepmom decided that our dog, Maitli, who seriously, had NEVER been taken on walks, was due for a nice walk up and over the hill. So off they went, in their best, undercover roles, casually strolling by the house in question. There she was, screaming and brandishing the broken bottle.
“Is that your dog?” she cried?
“Yes,” Dad replied.
“Well, I can cut its throat for you, if you like,” offered the girl.
“No, that’s OK,” answered Dad, “what’s your name?”
“Christopher,” she replied.
“Christopher, that’s an unusual name for an girl,” said Dad.
“It’s my boyfriend’s name…he said I could use it.”
Well, she went on from there ranting and carrying on, and Dad was certain she was “on drugs.”
Nevertheless, she was, eventually, taken away to a psychiatric hospital. I honestly do not know what she was suffering from that day, but clearly, she had some issues. Her family (she was one of 11 children) was aware of her issues and had, apparently dealt with them for some time.
In this particular event, my brother was not really hurt, save being hit with the bottle, but he was scared by the experience.
Today, as I see people “going to see” the “crazy” antics of others, and as I read the “explanations” of others, that those acting out are on drugs, off drugs they should be on, mentally ill, drunk or what-have-you, I am reminded that for the most part only those very close to the person in question know the real cause of their erratic behavior. How we react to things we could not possibly understand will often determine the results of our interactions.
So, if I see you acting bizarre on the blogs, if you want to call yourself Christopher because your boyfriend told you you could use his name, if everyone suggests I should come and witness your behavior for myself, I might well do so. But I can also say that I will try to remember that I have no idea what has provoked you or what your personal issues are. And I hope I will not add to them.