Caught Up In His Own Head (Post #407)

unnamed“Possibly he is the kind of person who can get caught up in his own head,” I heard a well dressed black man say into his cell phone as he walked past me. I was sitting on a park bench, enjoying an afternoon with nothing to do. The man was dressed so nicely and walked so quickly that I presumed he was a person of some kind of importance. A man on a mission (probably having something to do with money).

And there I sat on a park bench (with legs crossed) in sweat pants, a t-shirt, High Top Converse All-Stars and I am not even sure if I brushed my hair that day. As I watched the man quickly fade away into the tree and grass filled distance, this is what I was thinking:

Really? Is that such a bad thing? Because if it is maybe I am under qualified for most things. I don’t know who he was talking about. I wonder if he was talking about me? It is possible but come on- not everything relates back to you. Who else out there gets caught up in their head as much as I do? Are there others? I wonder if that man was judging someone for a potential job and deemed them unworthy because of their tendency to get caught up in their head? Is it really such a bad quality? Enough to get you judged by those who claim to be more together? I don’t mind getting caught up in my head from time to time. It actually happens a lot more than that. My head is a good place to be. Sometimes not but generally I like being in my head. Getting caught up in the head can be a pleasant way to have a good conversation. Imaginative. Maybe that was a man who does not value imagination. Who knows. I wonder if he was talking about me?

And then I noticed an attractive lady walk by. She was walking her small dog and I watched her and the dog as they walked. She smiled at me and I at her. There are few things that can get me out of my head like an attractive lady can. It’s momentary, but it works every time.

The Case Of My Missing Jeans

thI can’t seem to understand it. No matter how hard I try, I am unable to make sense of it. I’ve looked everywhere. I have pulled every piece of clothing out of my closet. I have pulled all of the pounds and pounds of tangled clothing from my wife’s closet. I have looked in the various storage closets in my house. I have pulled out the washer and dryer so I could see if anything was behind them. I have even gone so far as to clean out my cluttered and cobweb infested garage, just in case I somehow managed to leave my jeans in there.

Before I fall asleep at night, I lay wide awake feeling the weight of the backside of my head on the pillow. I can not seem to stop thinking about this. The thoughts loop around and around in my mind. Where could the jeans have gone? When did I last wear them? Is it possible that I could have left them someplace else even though I rarely ever take off my pants when I am not at home? Is it possible that jeans or any kind of pant for that matter can just get up and walk away, all on their own? There are an infinity of possibilities that the limited human brain is incapable comprehending, maybe it is possible for jeans to just get up and walk away? Did I mistreat my jeans? Did I do anything that would make my jeans want to leave me? This goes on for what feels like hours before I am able to stop thinking and get some sleep.

One of the reasons why the disappearance of my jeans is so upsetting to me is that they were my favorite. I spent over $150.00 dollars on them because from the beginning I knew they were exceptional quality. The material of the jeans was so soft, stretchy and the cut was slim. They made me feel like I still had some sex appeal when I wore them. Jeans have a way of making the person feel more true to themselves and when I wore these jeans I felt deserving. Maybe this is the reason why I wore these jeans several times I week. It was one of the few things that I owned that I felt like I deserved. It was as if our paths were meant to run right into one another. So why would these jeans just go away?

Maybe it is a very real possibility that they did not go away at all. Instead, maybe someone else took them. Maybe my jeans were stolen. Anything is possible in this day and age that I am living in. People break into other people’s homes all the time. No one feels like they need to deserve anything anymore. It is a free-for- all and whatever a person can get there hands on, whether they deserve it or not, becomes their property. Maybe jean theft is on the rise? I have not read about or heard any reports of jean theft but maybe these crimes go unreported, just as I have not reported the disappearance of my jeans to the police. It is an embarrassing situation to report the disappearance of your favorite pair of jeans, so maybe everyone just remains silent. But it still does not discount the very real possibility that there could be a thief on the loose who stole my jeans.

But maybe I am being paranoid. Maybe this paranoia is a result of my previous over usage of marijuana. A vestige of that drugged out time in my life that still remains in the here and now. Just as it is possible that my wife is not having an affair or that my friends do not talk poorly about me when I am not around, it is equally as possible that my jeans were not stolen. There is the very real possibility that my jeans just got and left me. Maybe they felt like they were worn too much. Maybe they got tired of being stretched around. Maybe they did not like the laundry detergent that I washed them in. Maybe the drier was just too hot. Who knows. I am tired with keeping myself up so late, night after night thinking about why.

The reason why I think it is a real possibility that my jeans ran away from me is because I often see them on various men around town. This has happened a handful of times at the record store and café that I go to. I will be listening to a record or reading a book and then look up and notice that there is a man wearing a pair of jeans that look exactly like mine. I know that it is possible that these men could have bought a similar pair of jeans as mine but in these few instances the jeans that I have noticed on other men, look exactly like mine. They have a stitch coming undone in the same location. The butt of the pants is discolored and worn just as mine were. There is the same semen stain near the bottom part of the crotch. There is even an identical, small tear in the corner of the left hand back pocket.

As much as I wanted to confront these men to see if they were in fact wearing my jeans, I never did. I suppose I avoid conflict or I am too shy to approach complete strangers and accuse them of wearing my jeans. How would that conversation start anyways? “Excuse me, where did you get your jeans? Could I have a close look at them?” No, I do not think that would go over well. So it is a possibility that one of these men is the thief that I was thinking could have stole my jeans. I am aware that this is a very real possibility. Or maybe my jeans ran away on their own volition and found their way into one of these men’s closets. Why my jeans would prefer one of these men over me is a mystery to me, especially since none of these men seem to have even a slightly decent fashion sense. Maybe one of their closets was just a more enjoyable place for my jeans to hang out. I really don’t know.

I am starting to accept that my favorite pair of jeans are gone. It is difficult to accept loss, especially when it is something or somebody that you really felt like you deserved and earned through unpleasant toil. I have a hard time accepting that I will never again feel the feeling that I felt when I had my jeans on. I suppose I am not fully ready to let go yet. Maybe I am not starting to accept the loss of my jeans. Every night I am still waking up in the middle of the night, getting out of bed, grabbing a flash light and looking through all the various closets in my home. I have a feeling that I am not going to be able to sleep the night all the way through until I solve the case of my missing jeans.

The Counterfeiter

I know a man who wears fake clothes.  Well, the clothes are not fake because the cheap material is real, but the labels that the clothes hide behind are as a fake as the plastic flowers that sit on my desk. For almost a year I have been meeting this man for lunch and I had always been very impressed by his nice clothes. He often appeared to just walk right out from the pages of a fashion magazine. A few times when I glanced at the label on his clothes, sunglasses or hand bang I was surprised to see such exclusive names such as Dolce and Gabbana, Versace and Prada. “What is this man who works as a Waiter doing wearing such expensive clothes?” I always wondered. I never asked him this question, because as it turns out, I did not have to.

Not to long ago, one afternoon in the middle of our lunch together- this man confessed to me that he was a fake (for the sake of maintaining this man’s privacy I hope readers will not mind me referring to him as this man. I think we are all entitled to our privacy no matter how much the things we do and say deserve a wider audience). When we first met for lunch that day, I noticed that he was not looking good at all. His black shirt was not tucked in and his gray suit jacket was wrinkled. The hair on his head seemed to be out of line and the bruised bags under his eyes collected the water from the previous days rain. “I am a fake….I want you to know this,” he said in a serious tone while putting the noodles from the chicken soup into his mouth. “Everything on me….is completely….fake….it is time I come clean.”

I was surprised by his confession but not entirely clueless. I had read an article a few weeks before about how people who make certain choices that hide the truth can often feel like fakes. The article went on to describe the detrimental psychological repercussions of knowing that you are fake and explained how easy it was for a person to fool others but how impossible it is to fool yourself. After I read this article I did not think about it again until the afternoon that this man sat in front of me eating chicken noodle soup and confessing to me his fraud.

“Prada, Armani, Zegna, Gucci, John Varvatos, Dolce and Gabbana, Versace….I dream these names….I hang pictures of the clothes on my wall….spend hours loitering in the finest department stores…..I try the clothes on and weep….they look so good on me….they feel like a million dollars….but I cannot afford them….the fact that I cannot afford the man I want to be kills me…. keeps me up at night….I spend hours wondering up ways to steal the clothes….ways to make quick cash and buy them….but these are all just dreams….so I travel into the tenderloin….go to a little shop that sells the next best thing….all this stuff is fake…. my $65 Armani suit….these fucking $10 Prada glasses….my $18.99 Versace shoes….and the fucking $1.00 special Gucci socks…. all of it is fucking fake….I can not take it anymore!”

Now I had the answer to my question and it all made sense. As this forty year-old Waiter dressed in fake designer clothes sat in front of me with tears running down his face and noodles coming out of the side of his mouth all I could do was think about myself. I thought about my own preoccupation with clothes. I had always liked to dress nice and I remembered that as a child I often dreamed about growing into a man who wore fine suits everyday. As I got older this dream seemed to fade away and I became content wearing t-shirts and jeans. Sometimes I shop at Banana Republic because I like how the clothes fit me, but if I do not have the money to go clothes shopping I will happily go many years without even buying a pair of socks. I had never thought that deep down it could be a source of repressed sadness for me that midway through my life I am not able to afford any sort of designer clothes. I have done a good job convincing myself that I do not need these things- but as this man sat in front of me confessing his counterfeiting ways, I could help but see a part of myself in him.

“I have the entire world fooled,” he lamented on. “Everyone wonders how I can afford such expensive clothes….on a Waiters salary….they think I come from a wealthy family….am independently wealthy…. this makes me feel like less of a victim or failure….it gives me a sense of power and pride….knowing that other people think I can afford the most expensive labels around….but I know….I know….that these clothes are fake….even though others might be impressed….I cannot make myself believe….that these clothes are real!!!!no matter how hard I try to convince myself….I shiver every time I pass by a department store window with an Armani or John Varvatos display….or when I notice a person who is wearing the real thing….I feel like a complete….such a complete looser.”

He was talking so loud that some eyes in the restaurant looked over our way. My eyes also looked around the restaurant and wondered how many of these nicely dressed people were wearing fake things? How many of them look good on the outside but are feeling fake and uncomfortable on the inside? Even though this man sitting in front of me has tears running down his face- how many of these people have tears running down their souls? I tried to offer some advice, to be of help to this man but I found that I had little to say that could repair his soul. “It is okay Randall….you do not have to give me advice….I just needed to tell the truth to someone….this is all the help I need.”

A month passed before I saw this man again. I thought about him almost everyday and since his confession I had not been able to stop noticing other people wearing designer labels and wondering how many of them were fake. We met for lunch at our regular place but this time something was different. This man was dressed in “normal” clothes. A plain t-shirt, jeans and converse shoes. I was surprised. “I just got rid of them all….every fake label I owned….ended up in the trash,” he told me with a confidence within his words that I had not heard before. “It is much easier just being me….no matter how much I wish…. I was someone else,” he said. I could relate and told him that I understood. “Knowing that I was a fake….a counterfeit….ate away at my soul….even though now I know….I may not look as good….or successful….or stylish….I feel like I have been set free.” I felt glad for this man even though when he crossed his legs I noticed a Gucci symbol on his green socks. He had found a happy ending for himself and seemed to come to terms with who he really was. We had a nice lunch that afternoon and as we were leaving he put on a pair of sunglasses that I noticed had a Versace label on the side of them. “Hey, what is with the glasses?” I asked him, knowing full well that they were a fake. “These my friend….are the real thing,” he replied with what looked like a sinister smile and we walked out into the light of day.