Sometimes I see someone on the street and I make up a whole story about them in my head. Is this normal? I don’t know and I don’t care.After I’ve concocted my own story about a person, sometimes I happen to meet them. Sometimes, just sometimes, I wish I never met them because the story in my head is often better than the reality of their existence. Occasionally, I am surprised because they turn out to be far more interesting than my imagination allowed. I once met a guy, who in my story, was way too cool and ‘artsy’ for Facebook, only to see him join a few months after we met. If he had joined to display his ‘artsy stuff” maybe I’d feel differently but he was just on to be on. I’m pretty cool (as confirmed by several small children) and I'm on Facebook but in my head this guy was somehow above social media. If I see him on twitter I'm going to have to rethink the whole friendship.
There is no rationale behind 99% of the details in these fabricated stories; it’s often a way to entertain myself. The outstanding one percent is based on instinct (I just know it!) I once wrote an entire piece based on a guy I saw at Panera Bread. On three separate occasions I saw him eating lunch alone and looking very sad. He was bald, White (and a bit pasty), short and he wore high water pants with penny loafers. All these things added to his look of sadness. I concluded he was in an unhappy marriage, an IT job that he hated, he just learned his wife was pregnant with another girl (they already have two and he wants a son) and he was secretly planning to run away to Mexico to live on the beach (because he seriously needed a tan.)
I remember being seriously infatuated with a fire fighter in training; that is until I saw him asleep at work with his mouth open. He looked regular and unsexy; instantly, it was over. I totally understand the disappointed, shock and horror people feel when someone they hold in high esteem is revealed to be a fraud. To have a momentary let down by a stranger or someone you just made up a story about is very different from being disappointed by someone you trusted and thought you knew. This is precisely why I think priest who molest young boys should have their penises removed and fed to wild hogs, while they watch! Don’t even get me started on what should happen to parents, guardians and others who abuse children or politicians who abuse their power for personal and professional gain.
It is easy to make up stories about people based on our own failures, successes and expectations of life, but much more difficult to accept the reality of other people’s existence. If it is not uncommon for me to fabricate stories about complete strangers, I’m sure it is just as easy for them to do the same. Once I've met someone, it is usually pretty easy for me to let go of the preconceived ideas (except for the case of my Facebook using artsy friend). I’m sure it disappointed some onlooker when they saw me pick my nose or when they discovered my panty-line was visible or worst yet, one side of a low rise thong snuck up out of my jeans or that I have wildly unattractive callouses on my toes (my own fault.) I’m sure I have also given friends cause to look at me with titled heads when I did something they considered out of character.
I think no matter how good the fantasy person, the reality has a chance to be even better. All we have to do is give people a chance to be who they are, or, at least who they fantasize themselves to be.