Mr. Helix and I were recently wondering if we had a higher percentage of nutty friends than the average person. Being a couple of eccentrics ourselves, it is probably true, since we are more likely to attract more unusual friends, and more importantly, much more likely to be tolerant of their eccentricities than other people might. Qualities which, if I may be so bold as to pat ourselves on the back, are sadly lacking in the world today.
It seemed to me that weirdness was a quality that was encouraged more in decades gone by, and I am particularly thinking of the sixties. Since I was only a mere babe during the turmulent times of assassinations and riots, to me the sixties mean groundbreaking music, psychedelia and emphasis on breaking away from anything boring or stagnant. Just take one look at Cream’s “Disraeli Gears” album cover, and you have a neat little encapsulation of the wildness of the times. I can only imagine what middle-aged people were thinking when looking at that. “Oh heavens, where is the Pat Boone section?!” (I realize that some of the people reading this will have no idea who Pat Boone is, and this is where I say both “No loss” and “Google it, damn it!”)
Ahem, back to our weird friends – and I use the terms weird, nutty and eccentric lovingly. Just as they accept us with our unusual tendencies towards hoarding cats and enjoying music that no one else has heard of and/or cares about, we enjoy these things in them. Our one friend has a great flair for thrift store finds, and one of the most striking things in her living room is a ceramic red man lamp. It is the most unusual lamp I think I have ever seen, and yet it is magnificent in its weirdness and pride of place in her home. I don’t know of very many people who would purchase that lamp. Most would hide it in a closet until the dreaded mother-in-law who gave it to them stops by. But our friend is the type of person who proudly displays her red man lamp, and doesn’t care what you think of it. I admire her moxie tremendously.
Another friend has very strong yet varied hobbies, which are not necessarily things that I am interested in, but I admire the enthusiasm with which she pursues these things. As long as she does not demand that I be as enthusiastic about her hobbies as she is, I am happy to listen to tales of “Dark Shadows” conventions and ghost hunting expeditions. The same for our friends who are artists, comics, musicians, actors, and just plain kooks – they are all interesting in their own varied ways, and sometimes have little personality quirks which are in turns harmless and endearing, even if occasionally annoying.
The only time I can think of that someone gets hoisted out of the world of weird is when they cross some kind of trust boundary. We had a friend who stayed with us a while who was well meaning, but did not seem to understand boundaries, and was unable to keep to them even when they were explained to him. Besides posting personal things about us on social media, busting in on a work event of mine because he didn’t understand that he was not supposed to do that even if it was in a public place, and taking photos of my poor dead cat Woody after he had passed on and we had carefully wrapped him up to take him to the vet the next day, he disrupted our happy little home life simply by outstaying his welcome, and unfortunately, he is no longer one of our close friends.
There are a few examples of that kind of kooky that can no longer be withstood… but for the most part, we cling to our happy band of eccentrics collected along the way, and are happy to be included in the world of weird.