Attitude Problem For Sale By Owner

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Fire Throws – Presented Off-Broadway by Ripetime Theatre
Directed by Rachel Dickstein, February, 2009 – photographed by Richard Finkelstein

Make me an offer. What? You want to know what is the attitude problem for sale? Some people are so fussy! What ever happened to taking a risk and living to regret it.

The attitude problem for sale is… come to think of it I have several which I could sell. In fact, according to several people I know (one of whom is me), I am made up entirely of attitude problems. So if I sell them all, there will be nothing left of me. That’s quite an intriguing idea. I have always wondered who I’d be if I didn’t have an opinion about who I am. If everything I know about myself vanished, who would be left to be me.

I used to wish I’d get amnesia, and not remember anything about myself or my life. Who would I be without my memories, without my knowledge of myself and all the things which have shaped me into who I am. What would fill the void?

I wonder what my thinking would be like? I wonder if I would still have dyslexia? I wonder who I’d see when I looked in the mirror?

So much of what we see in the mirror is defined by who we think we’ll see and that is influenced by who we think we are, who we think we should be, and who we deeply wished we were.

What clothes would I wear? Would I still be attracted to the same sort of people, things… have the same passions and obsessions? Maybe… maybe nature is stronger than nurture. Hmmm. But nurture has much to do with how nature grows and evolves. I kind of think I’m a Bonsai tree, nature twisted by nurture to be a certain shape… what sort of tree or plant would I have become if the Bonsai nurturers had not twisted me… if nature had just grown as it chose to do so without nurture? Or does nature have some say in what kind of nurture it receives, therefore my nature will always attract the sort of nurture I get, and ultimately I will always be and become exactly who I am now.

Truth is, if I ever had a bout of amnesia, I would probably spend all of my time trying to recall my forgotten memories, trying to remember who I was, and so the whole experiment would be a waste of time because I wouldn’t remember that I wanted to forget… unless I left myself a note, but then I would wonder what it was that I wanted to forget and… ugh!

Anyway, the attitude problem for sale at the moment is… the belief that somehow I am less important than others. The reason I am selling it is because life at the moment needs for me to stand centre stage, claim the spotlight, unveil my drama, and demand attention. Not from the whole world, just the part of it in which I live. In other words I need to stop pretending that I am not the centre of my universe.

If I don’t get rid of this attitude problem, everything which is happening in my life now is going to go horribly wrong. I can predict it, in fact being able to predict the consequences of actions is one of my more useful attitude problems. Some might think it’s a talent not a problem, but being able to predict how people are going to behave, what they are going to do, a chain reaction based on an action, is something which other people find incredibly annoying, especially when I am spot on with it. My predictions can be off, but that is usually down to missing information. Anyone can predict consequences of actions, it requires being observant of human nature, and absorbing the constant stream of information which people emit with every word, action, reaction and look. Since I have spent the majority of my life sitting on the sidelines, being observant and absorbent is a side effect of that.

I know where this attitude problem was born. In fact it was born before I physically arrived on Earth, and it welcomed me with open arms. Throughout my childhood, and beyond, I have always been pushed aside, into the shadow. So many experiences have confirmed that my stage belongs to others, that they are the centre of my universe, that their dramas are more interesting, better acted, better written, and frightfully important. I accepted this, they seemed right, they shouted and screamed the loudest, while I just sat in a dark corner silently. Watching. Applauding when ordered and expected to do so, gasping in the correct moments, murmuring approval or dissent when the pause in proceedings demanded it, never rudely nodding off if possible, and generally being a polite and dutiful spectator.

I must admit that, after a while, being an observant audience member gets very dull. You’ve seen all possible dramas, you know the beginning, middle, and end by heart of just about every variation on every theme. And human behaviour becomes so predictable that all you want to do is close the curtains and shut down the theatre. What keeps the theatre open is the hope that something new, a thrilling twist never before seen, a performance of an unusual kind, will appear before the rather glazed over eyes, titillate the mind, and awaken the once interested now bored audience member.

There comes a time in life, when life asks you to do the opposite of what you normally do. That time has arrived for me. Life has challenged me. It said, so you’ve seen it all and you are bored, then create your own drama, write, direct, and perform it, centre stage, lights blazing. Your time to step up has come. Sure you’ve had some walk on parts, but you were often replaced by a stand-in because you refused to do the part exactly as instructed. Now you’re in charge, do something about it. Stop mumbling, start emoting.

The drama I am writing, directing, and performing at this time is not original… but it is mine. And I’ll be damned if anyone is going to push me off stage as they have in the past because their drama is more important than mine and they need to perform it now, on my stage… Get your own stage!

This is all new to me, and I am having to confront stage fright, many of my fears, the self doubt which always comes when you face fears, and… battle with the big bad boss of attitude problems which keeps trying to undermine my newly found self belief and smidgeon of self importance. I don’t think that I am more important than anyone else, I don’t want to think that way, I’m happy with equality in the matter of importance, I just need to stop seeing myself as less important than anyone else.

So, anyone want to make an offer… or should I just bury this attitude problem in the garden and see what kind of plant grows out of it?