If you’re too dense to have figured this out about me yet, I’m just going to go ahead and tell you: I’m not normal.
I don’t have a psychological disease (that I know of), and I’m not the type that will memorize someone’s class schedule and follow him or her around campus accordingly. I don’t own a collection of skulls, and I’m not really a fan of spouting obscure knowledge to no one in particular. But, I’m still kind of odd.
I’m not normal because I didn’t start making my bed until I came to college and seem to have a mild, self-diagnosed case of obsessive compulsive disorder that must drive my lovely roommates insane.
Then again, half the time we’re around each other, my roommates and I communicate in noises rather than language. My voicemail greeting plays a recording of my voice but in a deep drawl, a great imitation I picked up through eight years of living in the South. That’s far from everything, and this column isn’t about me — it’s about all of us. Whether you like it or not, you’re not normal either.
To be honest, I really don’t think I could classify anyone I know as normal. My parents are insane. I guess I learned a thing or two from them. One of my friends is a classically trained opera singer. I wouldn’t call that normal, but I would definitely call it intriguing. Another friend has an obsession with giraffes, and yet another has an obsession with knitting.
I know a group of guys who take the term “bromance” to an entirely new level, and a group of girls who respond with a self-proclaimed “homance.” But are any of these things even weird or just uncommon?
Humans are much more difficult to define as normal than, say, inanimate objects. Carpet on a floor is normal. A lamp sitting on a desk is normal. Tires on a car are normal and definitely necessary.
However, if you put carpet on a bed, a lamp in a bathtub and tires on a television set, it would be classified as weird. There are some pretty concrete rules for these quantifiable things, but as soon as those silly abstracts of emotions and personality come into play, things get complicated.
How do we measure how much we like someone? How much we love someone? It’s a lot more difficult than spreading our arms and legs wide and saying “THIS much!”
Should we attempt to tell our significant others that we’re annoyed with them when they really haven’t done anything to piss us off aside from being themselves? And is love an excuse for the inexcusable, like staying with an abusive or unfaithful partner? (Yes, Rihanna, I’m talking to you.)
Since we have no way of defining what’s normal for an individual, how can we even begin to define how normal a relationship is? Is there a required number of times you have to text someone in a day, and are you obligated to respond to each?
Should there be a point when you get bored and move along, or are you supposed to try hard to keep things interesting? Whom should we look to in order to emulate the mythical normal relationship, and how would we know whether that public façade is the only thing normal about the person?
I apologize for bombarding you with rhetorical questions, but really, think about it — if you’ve had the pleasure of having a normal relationship, what was it that made it so normal?
The other night, I was having a conversation with a guy who I’ve been interested in since December. Exasperated with him as usual, I said “I just don’t know” in regards to, well, just about everything he’s said to me. He replied, “Who does?”
Despite how annoyed I was with him for that cop-out of a response, I had an epiphany: he was right. Sometimes the only way we can explain things is by deeming them unexplainable and leaving them at that, letting the weird be weird and accepting things for what they are until things finally fall into place.
Libby Peck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.