When I was growing up in Trinidad & Tobago, I moved around so much that I never made friends. The moving around didn’t matter, though, because even moments of residency I was still seen as an outsider. My vision was poor so playing sports was out of the question. And being mixed race didn’t help in neighborhoods where being black was the norm. I was once beat up by a kid for no reason, but in retrospect, it may have been my simple oddness, and aloofness, that may have set him off.
I didn’t receive glasses till I was 10, and when I did get them, they were so thick that kids said they were made from Coke bottles. I tried my best to avoid everyone by going for long walks on Mayaro beach, and that usually worked. It was just me and the wide Atlantic Ocean – pure tranquility. I could’ve done without that burning sting from a Portuguese man o’ war that had been washed up on the beach; still, it was preferable to being among my own human compatriots.
Fast forward to today, nearly 50 years later. Things haven’t changed that much. I still prefer to commune with nature than humankind. Yesterday, i went for two strolls through Magnuson Park. The first was through the sports fields and the second, around 5PM, was through the wetlands. Now that summer is upon us, the wildlife is beginning to flesh out around here. For the first time, and up close, I saw a hummingbird. It could’ve been a black-chinned hummingbird but I’m not sure. It’s back was an iridescent dark green but it’s chest was also dark, not like the white I’ve seen in pictures. I also saw a great blue heron. That was pretty cool. Close up they sure resemble dinosaurs. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re one of the least changed descendants of the extinct wonders.
I think I know what my future is. I’ll be that eccentric old man (like billy barr, the snow guardian of the Rockies or Nikola Tesla, the electrical genius) who shuns society and speaks only to the animals. I won’t mind that, actually. Humans can be deceptive, corrupt, dishonest, abominable, frightful and just plain uncomfortable to be around. That’s too bad but it is what it is. Just give me wildlife anytime – just keep the big cats at bay, though. They make me nervous.
Say hi to my little friend. He doesn’t want to shun the world but he has no choice. People are just too erratic, too crazy for him. They’re predictable, pretentious, and phony, and their holier-than-thou attitudes just don’t mesh well with his straightforward, no nonsense, truth-slinging, no bullshit mien. So, from now on, Robin’s going to isolate otherwise people will just drive him back to drinking and drugging. All of his days and nights will be spent in solitude, perhaps playing video games, writing stories or strolling through the park with his headphones on full blast. There will be no more AA or NA meetings or church dinners in his life. All his grocery shopping will commence at 2AM when no one’s around. Wow. Life’s beginning to improve already! Simplicity, what an underrated concept.
There were three. Kinda reinforces the fact that, well, when it comes to round holes I’m the perpetual square peg.
- I tried hanging out with the homeless in the pavilion of a park close to where I sleep in my car at night. When I walked in they looked at me like I was Ed Gein, human mask and all. I was only looking for an outlet to plug in this laptop but the cold looks I got could freeze a polar bear in its tracks. Goodbye, pavilion.
- I went to a drop-in center for the mentally challenged earlier this week to maybe watch a movie on this laptop, eat lunch and help with the dishes. I was attacked by this heavy set woman. She yelled, “Don’t brush up against me!” as I walked pass her. Mind you, I was no where near this woman, but her challenge was unnecessary. I’m trying my best to avoid any kind of confrontation so her vitriol caught me off guard. I’m homeless, dammit, and I’m just trying to make myself useful. Anyway, the center was too noisy and emanated too many bad vibes. Goodbye, center.
- I went to see a few of my street friends down at a local park last night. They were hanging out with other homeless folks cooking around an outdoor pit. Yes, they were smoking weed. That didn’t bother me. What caught me off guard was I suddenly wanted to drink because I wanted to join in their party. The feeling was unbearably strong; also, because there was more people in attendance than I’d like, I bounced. Going down there was a mistake. Almost brought me back to drinking which, in essence, would’ve brought me back to drugging. Goodbye, homeless folks huddled around outdoor fire pits at night.
I frequently get this recurring dream where I can barely walk and I find myself in a neighbourhood where thugs abound, specifically, black thugs. I try to get away from them but my legs won’t let me run away. It almost feels like I have ALS or MS and my leg muscles simply refuse my command to haul ass. What a nightmare. I just had that same dream and it’s still rocking me.
In real life I’ve found myself in neighbourhoods where I’m an outsider destined to fail. In Trinidad I was a light-skinned Asian/black mix which the darker-skinned kids shunned and cast out of their groups. Consequently, I learned to ignore their favourite sport which, in this case, was soccer. When I came to America the culture shock was being in a huge city with tall buildings, subways and graffiti everywhere. My head felt like it was going to explode. I couldn’t relate to the people’s music, their food, their speech, their dress, their way of life. It didn’t help that I had Asperger’s either. Sounds were too loud and lights were too bright. I did find the punk rockers but this was short-lived as they found jobs and had families. Socially, I was a misfit and became an abject loner. I was a trespasser in the white neighbourhoods, too. As far as I was concerned I was born to fail and was just wasting my time staying alive. There was no point to it; staying alive was just a vain effort in futility. I didn’t belong and that’s the bottom line.
From neighbourhood to neighbourhood I was an outsider and I knew that couldn’t last. So I attempted suicide. I was out like a light for about two days then ended up in a psych hospital for two months. When I got out I went back doing the things which made this world bearable – alcohol and drugs. The alcohol “turned the world down” and the drugs brought me friends, albeit temporary ones. Hey, people would be leaving me anyway so why not buy a few friends while I had the money? Anyway, I do feel better these days. I’m autistic and a Jain so at least I now have two groups I can call my own. They may not be popular but it’s better than nothing. Way better.