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Misanthropy anew


My friend Paul is a very wise man. Last week, as he drove O. and me home after a morning of catching up at the house / workshop / gallery / former school building in which he dwells, he said:

I would love to have another life, just so I could spend it cursing at everything, and everyone.

The negative character of this man is self-evident. He’s as much a misanthrope as he is an engaging full of life and stories. It makes hanging out with him a free afternoon at a comedy club. His lifestyle is perfectly suited for his disposition. I’m positive his house contains more rooms than even he can count. There is a room for his art, another one for the art his students produce, various studios, six bathrooms, and three separate kitchens. He lives alone where he is boss.

Paul is also much older than I am, think a young grandfather. I expect that his age plays a large part in how comfortable he is low-key hating everybody. I’m not so lucky. Whenever I find myself muttering that “I hate people”, my self-talk quickly turns to shame and guilt. What if mankind is, in fact, nice, and I just happen to not see it? What if all those people on trains producing noises that make me want to explode would happily carry on a conversation with me, if only I was open to some fun?

Sometimes I think it would be incredible to have a door in my house, one that only I have the key to. It opens to a world exactly like this, except that nobody there can hear me scream and curse. I would hang out there on occasion, using profanity so profane that Satan would eventually have to come in to please ask me to simmer down because I was offending all the racist, nazi pedophiles in the hottest, darkest corners of hell.

It isn’t so much that I am mad at anyone specific, but more so the earth as a whole with everything and everyone on it, including myself. Or maybe I’m not even mad, but rather afraid? I mean, that’s where anger sometimes comes from, right? Maybe if I take a pillow and shout into it really loudly, and then go back to doing whatever, it’ll be better, and I’ll be able to get on with my day, working steadily towards artistic retirement in which I smoke excessively at my kitchen table like Paul, worrying about how many lives I need for all my expletives.