I was a person. ‘OK cool,’ I thought, ‘I can do that…’ That wasn’t a problem. Be a person, be a person, be a person, I told myself, but after a while I realized that it wasn’t working. It wasn’t coming off at all and so all of a sudden I started to panic, I started to freak out. I started to flip. I didn’t know what to do – it just wasn’t coming to me. Be a person, be a person, be a person, I told myself but it was no good. Do person stuff, do person stuff, do person stuff I ordered myself frantically but it just wasn’t happening. It’s no good just telling myself to be a person and do person stuff I realized – I had to fill in the blanks, I had to tell myself exactly what I was supposed to be doing here. ‘Throw me a bone here,’ I told myself, ‘give me something to go on for God’s sake!’ but nothing was forthcoming – I had drawn a blank.
The panic was beginning to hit me big time at this stage. I had to pull something out of the bag. Pull something out of the bag, pull something out of the bag, I started telling myself, riding the crest of a wave of pure freak-out, but then I realized that this wasn’t going to help me. That was just the panic talking I realized and listening to the panic wasn’t going to do me any good. Don’t listen to the panic, don’t listen to the panic, don’t listen to the panic, I told myself in tones of deadly earnestness until I realized that this was only the panic talking too. The panic was telling me not to listen to the panic!
By now the panic had developed a number of different voices. One voice was insistently saying ‘Do person stuff, do person stuff, do person stuff…’ whilst another was telling me to ‘Act like you know what you’re doing, act like you know what you’re doing, act like you know what you’re doing…’ over and over again. Another voice was busy saying ‘Stay calm and don’t listen to the panic’ over and over. Yet another voice was hysterically warning me ‘Don’t give into the panic, don’t give in to the panic, don’t give in to the panic’.
So anyway what I learned from all this was that the voice telling me to ‘do person stuff’ – whatever that might happen to be (and I never did find that out) – was the panic, and the voice telling me not to listen to the panic was the panic, and the voice informing me that ‘the voice telling me not listen to the panic was the panic’ was ALSO the panic and so really everything was the panic and there was nothing that wasn’t the panic. All there was was the panic. And it was all because I didn’t know how to be a person. I thought I would be able to but I wasn’t – when it came to it I didn’t have a clue. I thought I could do it because everyone else could.
I still don’t know how to be a person. I’m still drawing a blank. Everyone else knows how to do it but I don’t. What’s the secret, I sometimes wonder. How come everyone else knows how to do it but I don’t? I ask myself this question a lot. I look at people as they go about their business and I wonder what exactly the trick is. I’d like to go up to someone and ask them what the secret is, but I don’t have the confidence. I’m afraid that I’ll come off as being weird…