Often this life is very uneventful and reminiscent of 1950s sitcoms. The Narrator lives in a suburban house with a white picket fence. There is a dog in the yard. When The Narrator walks in, hat in hand and calls, "Honey. I'm home!" The Narrator's loving partner, pets and maybe even adopted children greet The Narrator at the door. The Narrator is not sure what happens next. Possibly a problem which can be resolved in 30 minutes or less. Maybe the cat flunked algebra. Maybe dinner.
Of course, deep down The Narrator knows this will never happen. The Narrator is just too strange for an ordinary life. Normal people avoid The Narrator, regular jobs let The Narrator go with good references and severance pay and ordinary houses are whisked away from the narrator in family politics. Whatever steps The Narrator has taken to secure this imaginary future s/he seeks to possess dematerialize whenever s/he gets close.
The Narrator is probably the only person who has actually failed at having a regular life by "Just being one's own self."
You see, The Narrator has started the story over many, many times. So many times there almost is no story at all. Or maybe there are many stories, all in opposition. Everything is becoming a dream to The Narrator. Everything from answering emails to eating a ham sandwich. The Narrator tells no one this because no normal person has had so many false starts.
The Narrator exists in other people's dreams as well. However, The Narrator is always someone else to The Dreamers. Sometimes an actual person, sometimes just a hope of what The Dreamers would like The Narrator to be. The Narrator almost always knows the truth behind The Dreamers' reality. Even if The Narrator doesn't want to believe it. Sometimes The Narrator gets a glimpse of who The Dreamers would rather The Narrator to be. The scariest part is when it is a real person. Some one who exists in another place and time for The Dreamers. The Narrator pushes this thought aside as if it never happened. It is much safer to be an amorphous concept holding no shape, form or precedent.
The Narrator always knows why The Dreamers do what they do. Even if The Dreamers can't see it themselves. I suppose The Narrator would be heartbroken over the misconceptions The Dreamers hold-- if the The Narrator wasn't used to it by now. Unlike The Dreamers, The Narrator can always see the end of the story. The Narrator is telling it, after all. Both The Dreamers and The Narrator know how the story begins. It is the pages in between that just need to be filled.
The Narrator genuinely likes The Dreamers which is why s/he doesn't mind knowing the whole story. However, The Narrator is never sure why The Dreamers stick around. Do they like the attention? Does The Narrator offer the Disney version of a bohemian vacation package-- guided tours of the weird and wonderful underworld? (Unlike The Dreamers, for The Narrator, it is not a freak show. It is The Narrator's real life.) Do The Dreamers not know how the story ends? This surprises The Narrator because many of The Dreamers are fairly astute. Or maybe it is because every single one of The Dreamers can call The Narrator when they need anything from emotional support to a drug connection.
What The Dreamers don't know is that The Narrator always intended to fade rapidly to "casual acquaintance" once The Dreamers' respective stories ended. It is what they get for dreaming The Narrator into something s/he'd never be. But The [Forgotten] Dreamers can still text The Narrator for emotional support, drug hook-ups, or whatever they may need. The Narrator would rather not be bothered unless The [Forgotten] Dreamers have a reason though. The Narrator doesn't chit-chat with ghosts.
The Narrator "is perfect, but . . ." and the "but" is always that The Narrator is just too weird. Or too different. There remains an intangible issue with The Narrator that s/he cannot seem to fix. The Narrator has heard people (The Dreamers, mainly) try to describe The Narrator's problems. S/he is understanding and tolerant of their gibberish. Almost to a fault. Perhaps it is because sometimes The Narrator does not always fit into The Narrator's dreams either.
The real problem is no one knows exactly *what* the problem is with The Narrator. Or maybe they do and it is unspeakable. Maybe it is like the name of God and when it is spoken, something devastating happens. Maybe The Dreamers wake up. The Dreamers vehemently deny it is The Narrator's weirdness, lest they appear shallow or superficial to The Narrator. At any rate, the problem probably is that The Narrator is unapologetic about who s/he is and there is nothing that can be done to change it.
The picture above is one of Brian Andreas' "Story People" drawings. This print hangs on my office wall