The Beginning of a Story.

He creaked open the wooden door and walked into the little coffee shop. Small, yes, but only in size. The name embossed over the window and the logos on the mugs identified that the young man had walked into one of a large chain. Security, rather than risk was what he needed in his coffee. Harrison walked to the counter and glanced at the menu, only to ensure he had enough change. A skim of the tables told him that it wasn’t peak hour, but rather just after. Empty chairs left ajar at tables with dirty cups and plates showed that it had been busy and the staff were running behind on their chores. Three customers remained in the shop; an elderly couple sitting by window, sipping their coffee in silence; and a girl with her head down in a novel, the crumbs from her sandwich remaining on her plate with a pot of tea to its side. 

Harrison smiled at the boy at the counter and gave him his order – cappuccino, medium, 2 sugars – and glanced at the pastries, but decided against it. As the cashier plugged the order into the computer, the young man couldn’t help but notice the bags around his eyes. It was nearly half three in the afternoon, the boy must have started early. He was far too young to be of any position of management, it couldn’t be the stress that had caused his tire. 

“Nearly home time?” Harrison asked.

“Nah, just been in an hour or so” prompted the cashier.

Ah, of course. Not an early riser, just an average student. 

Harrison took the sign with his order number and turned to choose a seat. Against the wall, facing the outside so he could play psychic to passers by. He pulled out the chair, unintentionally making far too much noise in the process. The girl with the novel looked up, smiled, adjusted her book and returned to it. Harrison noticed the title – Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins – and smiled. 

“Any good?” he broke the silence once again. 

The girl looked up and gave a polite grin and nodded.

“Better than the first” she returned, her eyes flicking to the pages. 

Eliza Street.

So I’m going on a little trip at the end of next month. It’s pretty much the one thing I’ve wanted to do for years and years, as long as I can remember. Whilst I know, people go on exchange all the time, I never thought that I would be the type to go. I’ve never thought of myself as outgoing or adventurous, nor did I ever think that I’d risk delaying my university degree for it. I’ve always been the type to make plans and never go through with them. Sometimes because I’m lazy, other times because the plans are just too far out reach.

Then again, I’ve always thought of myself as very ‘on my own’. I swapped schools so frequently as a child I’d never had any properly grounded friends, not until high school at least. I never really thought I needed the assistance of others to get through anything, I’d always be more than capable of getting through any situation on my own. That said, I’ve never been one without friends. My innate desire for constant validation has ensured this. Close friends on the other hand, well I have a select few. 

I originally bought a one way ticket for my little trip. Maybe it’s because I moved so much as a kid and that now I’ve lived in Sydney for so many years, I’m looking for that change that I’ve been waiting for. Or maybe it’s because I lack the ability to hold a conversation with someone without breaking the tension with an awkward joke. I’ll be away for five months, surely that’s enough time to think of some new material?

I bought my return a month later, mainly because my family found out and they weren’t pleased.  Also, there was a chance I might miss Sydney – or rather – a few people here (and near by). But the thrill, oh it was enticing. To think maybe I’d go there and never come back. To be able to start anew with no baggage. Hey that’s not outgoing at all right?

Goodness, I’ve changed. I’ve started needing people. I’ve never needed people before. There are people I miss when I don’t see them, and people that make me smile when I do.   It’s reactionary, not just me being polite. What if I were to move across the world now? I’d actually miss the people I’ve left behind. Ugh, it’s just a liability stopping me from so much.

But here I am, just before this little trip of mine that has been three years in the making, having momentary lapses in excitement.

The Narcissist and The Character.

The Character is His own. It is singular of all others and all things. There is no dependance, nor any dependent, regardless of any external viewpoint. There is merely an Audience to observe its grandeur, to learn from its intelligence, to bask in the glow. There is no blood running through its limbs, for that would be a sign of mortality. It has no greater aim than to be itself for now and for later, an aim He believes that the audience should mimic. It itself is perfection, and any flaw is primarily decided upon to relax its viewership. 

Its interactions are theatrics presented to the Audience – to excite, to enrage, to endear. It is a character created in the vision of excellency, made to ensue envy throughout the crowd. It entertains as would a film, evoking themes of love and joy, but also heartbreak and sorrow. He is his character, but they are not one in the same. 

The Character is grand. He, however, is excellent for creating it. He is the author and designer, the playwright and director. The Character is merely based on Him. It looks alike, it sounds alike, but that is all. For He and his Character are not equal. The Character is far greater – it is more intelligent, more charismatic, more attractive and more skilled. It is created in a way to ensure that the Audience will recognize its brilliance.  

He hides behind the Character in its shadow, a place of safety and security. No harm can come to him here, for all pain is inflicted on the ever changing external. The Character is merely altered to compensate. He is brilliant enough to create magnificence from inflicted pain – the Audience respects those who have been through harm. 

Every judgement made on the Character by the audience can be manipulated by Him to ensure that its perception remains level. If it is inflicted with pity, He turns that into respect. If it is viewed as selfish, He ensures it is paltry self confidence. There is no repercussion that can be permanently harmful, only the foundation of grand tales. Every sky-scraper and every monument is build on dirt and rubble, just as every magnificent story is built on indignation and filth. 

And each story is magnificent, created in His mind. Stories of the past and maybe stories of the future, based on extensive research on the Audiences’ tastes. Birthplaces, homes, friends and relatives – all altered and lied about to create the most attractive individual. For He is a liar – a brilliant one. There is no field that is sacred in his domain, for his ability to alter the truth is matched by no one. The Character is perfect, even if He isn’t so. He lies not through his teeth, but through the Character. Every facet of the Character’s ‘personality’ is falsity based on one of His own truths. 

Whilst the Character shields him from the harm of the external, He is not shielded by the residue from the Character. There is a constant feeling of guilt, of shame and, more heavily, the fear that he might be revealed. His ability to lie is frightening for Him – he can no longer tell the truth as it feels unnatural. He is a puppet-master, for now and forever and he will die under the disguise of the Character. He will feel no love as he feels no pain, for He has no interaction with the Audience and the external. As a father lives through his children, He lives through the Character. His creative intelligence and brilliance comes at this cost, and it is far too late to break the fourth wall. He is alone, and only feels the inside of the Character’s mask. 

The costume of the Character remains as attractive and endearing as it was and will always be. Underneath, however, unseen by the external, the hems fray. The Character will die, either due to the revelation of His existence by a member of the audience, or due to the residue seeping through and destroying Him. He will die under the mask, unseen by the world, with the name of the Character etched upon the tomb. 

Nobody ever questions how exactly Mary got that little lamb now, do they?

People get me thinking, for some reason or another. Maybe it’s because I’m continuously bored, or maybe it’s because I listened, once, in a psychology lecture, but I find myself wondering – continuously – why the hell do people do the things they do. 

Why does the guy on the train play music from his phone at a volume that irritates the neurones out of every other passenger’s brain? Does he lack the ability to feel concern for the affairs of others? Or does he simply not care? Is he very proud of his musical taste and hopes that all others will enjoy it also? Maybe he is bored and wants to start an argument just to make his enduring journey pass more quickly, or maybe he’s going to run a marathon in an hour and the only sound that will get him pumped up enough is ‘Lil Wayne singing about how his modified Cadillac got repossessed while he was in jail?
I can’t be the only one that wonders why these blimps in humanity behave the way that they do. We’d all like to think that they are thoughtful and good when they want to be, or that they only react to situations in this way because something terrible happened to them long ago and they have lost the ability to feel compassion for another human being. It is easy to be judgemental of the different or the abnormal. What really interests me is why the average person, or the ‘normal group’, behave the way that they do. Why does the average train commuter sit quietly against the window and read the Sydney Morning Herald on the way home? More interestingly, why does the teenager next to them listen to music? Why does the twenty-nine year old lady read OK magazine? Why does the nurse just sit blankly staring out the window? 
What causes us to make the choices that we make? Why is it that right now I am writing this article when I probably should be studying for my anatomy mid-semester? The answer, you could say, is that I enjoy writing more that I do studying anatomy and that’s why I made this choice. But why do I write when I am procrastinating and not play video games or spend hours on Tumblr like other people who don’t want to study? What happened in my life that made me a writer and Joe Smith down the road a gamer? Is it because I am more educated? Is it because I think far to much and feel like reducing others to my level? Am I writing this just to get it off my mind, or just to so people can comment and feed my ego?
The answer to this is simple – we all have a story. A story that makes us who we are. It is a compilation of how our parents brought us up and the values they taught us to recognise along with the impact of the hundreds (and now with the impact of television and popular culture, probably millions) of people. But can we assume that none of who we are is purely genetic? If we all were brought up in the same culture would we all end up the same? If twins were brought up across the world from each other (a la Danny Devito and Arnold Schwarzenegger) would they end up completely different? The ‘Nature vs Nurture’ debate that has been going on for centuries. 
The truth of the matter is that every single thing that you are and who you will become is based on who you were. You can be told to forget the past, but whether you like it or not it will effect who you will become. It is because once our first commuter couldn’t enter a conversation about the global financial crisis that he reads the Herald on the train. It is because once our teenager danced to a new band at a night club why he listens to music. Our twenty-nine year old lady heard some gossip that she wanted confirm, and our nurse, well maybe she just forgot her novel at the hospital. 

We can select our friends after weeks of analysis, but we have to select our life-partners over dinner?

There are seven billion people on this earth. Billions have come before us and billions will come after. Everyone that has ever been, that ever will be and that is. 

Everyday, you encounter less than one percent of the earth’s population. On average you speak to two new people a day. You have people you see daily who you never talk to. These are people who you recognise and who recognise you. You wonder where they are on days you don’t see them, even at least for a millisecond. But they are there just to let you know that there are other people in this world. The awkward glance, or the smile forcibly returned lets you know that other people are the same as you on the inside, that you are kid with backpack to briefcase carrying suit guy.

And once you forget about briefcase carrying suit guy you meet the people you know, but not well enough to talk to. You smile and they smile back, maybe a nod of the head, whilst drastically searching through your memory to attach a name to a face.

Then there are the people who you do know well enough to talk to, but not well enough to create an actual, meaningful conversation. You generally meet these people whilst walking in the opposite direction to them. You see them from a distance and say hi, they say hi back. It reaches a point where you both realise that you have to finish a complete conversation in about 10 seconds before you pass each other. This usually results in a completely useless and obvious question:

“Going to class?”  
“Ok see-ya around”
“Yep see-ya”.
The next group that comes are people that you work or have class with. You don’t necessarily like these people or know them that well, but you are forced into conversation because of your situation. You ask about how long till they finish class, followed be the obligatory ‘oh really, that sucks’ or the ‘Ahh lucky you, I’m still here until ___’. The long, awkward pauses, or if your like me, boring statements that are only of mild interest just to void the never ending tension 
“So yeah this stool is really uncomfortable hey…”
Then, you eventually reach the people you want to talk to. These are those who fall into your list of top people in your life. These are the people you look forward to seeing, the people who grab your attention so as you forget about all others. The people you say ‘see you later’ to and know that you will in truth see them later. It is a group that is usually small and highly selective with a rigorous selection process, followed by a tough orientation period. Examination after examination, frequent callbacks and follow up interviews, a group that lives in a solid brick house with only a back door that needs to be hammered down to get out of.
Sometimes I wonder why all people couldn’t fall in this group. Then I remember than if they did, I wouldn’t really get much done.