I had a plan for this post.
Today I was supposed to explore idea I’ve had for a while; I was going to provide you with a list of my most definitive eccentricities. I would go on to describe the ideal world or situation for me, based on each of the eccentricities I described. It was to be equal parts frank and entertaining. In other words, the sort of post they say you’re supposed to write. (All the time…)
I assumed that when I sat down to write this post, I’d simply rattle off ten or so of my most eccentric characteristics or desires, make my witty, self deprecating comments about same, and publish it for all the world to peruse. “Oh what a card that Ty Unglebower is.”
Here’s the snag I encountered; I could only come up with one or two eccentricities of mine, and neither were especially interesting at the moment.
At this point it’s vital for you to understand one important fact; I don’t for a moment believe that I am eccentric in only one or two ways. On the contrary, I know that given time, the average person could probably augment my aborted list ten fold after knowing me for a few weeks. I’d be in agreement with about half of what they said, I’m sure.
So what happened? Why did I get stuck? Am I that self unaware? Like anyone, I’m in need of greater introspection at times, but in this case my stymied list of eccentricities I think is due to perspective. Unless I spent a few weeks undertaking a study and writing down those things about me which are eccentric enough to be noticed as well as to be enjoyed by a reader, it’s not easy to just call them up to the surface to discuss. That’s because my oddities are a part of who I am. Indeed the very nature of “eccentricity” requires a society of some size surrounding the eccentric man, and observing/behaving in a contrary manner. In other words, what is an eccentricity if not a value judgement we place on other people that perform actions, think and prefer things that most others in the same circumstance do not? Which is in part to say one behavior is eccentric here, but may not be at all eccentric over there.
Given this, determining one’s eccentricities is not simply a matter of self-reflection, but rather a quasi-academic exercise.
What society do I find myself in at this particular moment? What do I do in this particular situation that stands in clear contrast to the preferences and perceptions of that society? We ask ourselves these questions to determine in what manner we are eccentric. In some cases, this is determined with ease; wear a suit of armor while shopping downtown and in the vast majority of cases you’ll be viewed as eccentric. (At least.) Other things are conditional; have sauerkraut at Thanksgiving as I do, and you’re eccentric in Kansas but rather normal in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Even in both of those cases, one extreme and one subtle, a judgement is involved. So to determine my eccentricities in a list for your enjoyment, I’m not only required to study the scenario a bit, I’m subjecting myself to a judgement, and that’s not automatic.
Now, it’s a judgement I can live with in many cases. If you think it’s eccentric of me, being an average sized man to only wear extra large t-shirts, okay. I’ll accept that. In truth, I’d probably agree with that one; that is a little “eccentric” of me. Yet in the end it is still a judgement. A perception. Which means I could wear a suit of armor over my extra-large t-shirt while eating sauerkraut, and in the end be nothing more than just some guy doing stuff.
I may yet one day consider more deeply what about myself most people might consider eccentric, and post commentary on same. It will take a bit more thinking, though. Even then, you might not think I’m that eccentric after all. Until that post, though, I’m content to propose that there is no true eccentric behavior in the world.
Or is that an eccentric view to take on being eccentric?