By Robert A. Vella

In 1967, a depression-inspired Jim Morrison of The Doors wrote these memorable lyrics:

“People are strange when you’re a stranger.”

I don’t know what the weather was like back then in Laurel Canyon, but it’s pretty hot now.  So hot, in fact, that the people around me seem to be going crazy these days.  Maybe it’s the hordes of mosquitoes plaguing my community.  Maybe it’s mass trauma induced by days of incessant fireworks explosions surrounding America’s Independence Day celebrations.  Maybe it’s widespread financial hardship in this economically depressed town.  Maybe it’s the struggle of people trying to maintain their interpersonal relations amid growing cultural divisions and global uncertainty.  Maybe it’s something else.  Maybe I’m the stranger.  I don’t know.

All I know is what I see, and this is what I’ve been seeing lately:

A troubled young man who physically intimidates his mother because he refuses to accept responsibility for his own life.

Petulant, pubescent youngsters who threaten their parents with false child abuse accusations when they don’t get their own way.

An obsessed, alcoholic, single mom who seeks comfort in sexual promiscuity.

An absentee husband who demands sexual favors from his separated and emotionally-dependent wife in exchange for not divorcing her.

A lonely, retired woman who has great difficulty with listening to others.

A struggling shopkeeper who scares away her customers with highly opinionated outbursts.

A charming teenage boy who has only one ambition – to be the greatest womanizer of all time.

A former trucker with so many health problems that it takes all his energy just to keep living day to day.

A disabled woman who spends her limited funds on wants and desires instead of the medications she needs to stay healthy.

A store clerk, and corporate automaton, who wears a mindless expression with glazed-over eyes in the performance of her duties.

A single-minded property manager who believes she can increase rents by being confrontational with existing tenants and thereby provoking them to leave.

An ethical and compulsive perfectionist who is increasingly at odds with the world around him.

Yes, I am the stranger.


19 thoughts on “People are strange: Nonsensical ramblings for a hot Friday in July

  1. I would kindly like to add to this sentiment-of-strangeness with a personal favorite quote of mine please…

    We do not need to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the Universe.
    — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reality is tough to look at sometimes. I dare say every house on my street has it’s own trauma going on while on the outside the lawn is perfect and the people coming and going appear to be as ‘normal’ as anyone else. There’s never noise, litter or anything to cause one to shudder yet I wonder, when will the perfection blow apart. We’ve been here 15 years and it’s the same day in and day out. I don’t complain as I love the orderly way of living and the peaceful neighborhood. The quality of life would be difficult to replicate, yet, I can’t help but wonder – what are the mysteries behind the closed doors.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent post! The people you mentioned I think could so easily have very similar counterparts in any community, including the small working class village where I live. I can identify at least five. Frankly so many people today are dysfunctional in some way or another, maybe as a result of the turbulent times in which we live . As a member of the human race in general I too often feel like a stranger in a strange land, particularly in recent years as so much as changed including how people relate to each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, and thanks for the insightful comment. Yes, I do believe much of this dysfunction is the result of the turbulent times we’re living in. It was precisely my point, in fact. 🙂


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