A co-worker looked over our cubicle divider the other day and asked, "Has anyone ever told you you're weird?" Rather than being offended, I smiled. I get that a lot.
I have an affinity for many strange things. I am a fan of llamas and wombats. I enjoy watching Antiques Roadshow on PBS, and I find green olives a fantastic addition to any dish.
The latest bit of nonsense in my world is speaking in pirate lingo. A girlfriend and I, for reasons that are surprisingly uninteresting, have decided we were meant to be pirates. Yes, I'm talking eyepatch-wearing, seven seas-sailing, plank-walking pirates. We greet each other with a hearty "Ahoy!" on the phone.
The highlight of our recent trip to Florida was a dinner theater centered around a huge replica of a pirate ship in a lagoon. We had more fun than most of the children for whom I'm sure the show was designed. We shouted and sang along with the pirate cast while seated next to a woman who watched it all in near silence. I'm sure she thought we were crazy. I'm not sure I disagree.
Why am I bothering to tell you about the oddities of my life? Not so you'll refer me for professional help, though that might be in order.
The fact is I've spent plenty of time, especially as a teenager, worrying about what other people thought of me. As I near the grand old age of 24, it has occurred to me that all those cliches about living life to the fullest are very true. A quote I've seen attached to various e-mails is, "Work like you don't need money, love like you've never been hurt, and dance like no one's watching."
I'm a pretty bad dancer. Any time I spend on a dance floor is with the hope that no one is watching. But that doesn't stop me from trying. Nor does it stop my mother, who frequently annoys my 18-year-old sister by singing and dancing in the car while she plays chauffeur.
"Mom! Stop it!" my younger sibling yells in typical embarrassed-teenager fashion. Her outbursts tend to spur me into joining the dance party, which usually leads to more yelling.
"Oh, chill out," Mom tells her.
My sister has yet to discover that ridiculousness is the spice of life.
Who wants to be serious all the time? I guarantee the somber woman I sat by at the pirate show will forget it in a matter of weeks. But five, maybe even 20 years from now my friend and I will pull out our cheesy pirate souvenirs and laugh until we cry.
Go ahead. Sing at the top of your lungs with your car windows rolled down. Let your kids wear their Halloween costumes to the grocery store.
Or if you're feeling particularly carefree, join my friend and me for International Talk Like a Pirate Day this September.
The captain and I insist.