I’m on the outside.
I don’t fit into the groove.
Now I ain’t a bad guy.
So tell me what am I trying to prove?
Big Man on Mulberry Street
I live in a vacuum. I feel connected to my wife and kids but I am completely disengaged from the world outside of that small microcosm. I’ve been in New Jersey for 10 years, six months and two days. That’s a hell of a long time and I don’t know anyone around here. Make no mistake; people know me. At block parties and when I’m out walking the dog, people will greet me by name. “Hi Mark! How’s Coco?” Hi Mark! Tell [Mrs. Wife] I said hello!” I have no idea who any of these people are. I mean…I’ve seen them around and I’ve been introduced to them, but I can’t recall any of their names.
This evening I was walking the dog and two little girls, maybe 7 and 9, said “Hi Mr. Cxx!” They recognize me because of the dog, who has achieved a quasi-celebrity status in the neighborhood for her willingness to enthusiastically lick the face of any child that’s placed in front of her. Whose kids are they? What are their names? [Side note: Why do kids like that so much? One little boy will run up to us and lay in the street so Coco can lavish him with licks while he convulses with laughter. Eww.]
They all must think I’m hard of hearing. Or a snob. Or retarded. Have you heard of anyone so utterly untethered to humanity? I’m not bragging. I hate it! It’s not healthy. Like the song says, I ain’t a bad guy but I don’t fit into this groove.
Last night I saw a memorable production at Lincoln Center. Alan Cumming did a one-man Macbeth. He chewed up the stage. In the good way. He seamlessly transformed from one character to another with just a slight adjustment to his body or voice. Each character was distinct from the others. Aside from Mrs. Wife, there isn’t anyone out here who would want to sit and listen to me prattle on about a one-man Macbeth. And this does not make them shallow or uninteresting individuals. They’re great! I’m just different from them. I feel removed.
My greatest fear is that The Daughters will inherit my oddness. I just want them to have healthy relationships with the human race. Their old man can’t seem to pull it off. I hope they can.