"Earshot" is one of my favorite episodes of Buffy, but the climax rubbed me the wrong way. The idea that Buffy Summers is comparing her lot in the life with Jonathon's felt completely off the mark.
Those of us who survived high school know that being attractive is a huge advantage (and not one that my tall, skinny rear end had). If money is the big divider among elementary school kids, beauty becomes the divider from middle school on. Unlike middle school, however, it is possible to make friends in high school regardless of what you look like. That doesn't mean the torment ends; ask anyone who was over weight in high school and see what it was like for them.
So blonde, athletic Buffy telling short, nerdy Jonathan that her life was just as hard as his felt like a cop out to me. It wasn't reflective of any high school experience that I knew of.
That doesn't mean that attractive people don't have problems, obviously. And, let's face facts, plenty of people grow into themselves after graduation.
All of the above stemmed from my, perhaps erroneous, belief that there are "normal" people in the world. It's something I've always thought. There are people who have reasonable childhoods, go to college, start careers, meet someone, settle down, start a family, etc. Their life is easily broken down into its component parts: career, family, house. These are their three priorities and it's how their life is ordered.
It's great, really, because they have focus. They can prioritize. Being successful at work is fulfilling. Having a nice lawn is fulfilling. Putting family ahead of self is the basis for life.
That's what "normal" people are to me.
We have new neighbors. They met in the military; he was in the marines, she was in the navy. They both have good jobs. They have two young boys. I see them in our cul-de-sac, talking to our other neighbors, watching their kids play with the neighbors' kids. There's a togetherness about them that has always alluded me. I've always been kind of a spaz, if not a complete mess.
And I realize I'm judging, but it's not my intent to do so negatively (side bar: judging someone always has a
Because here's the thing: being "normal" appeals to me almost as much as it doesn't. I would love to be happy with logging my 40+ hours each week and I would love to have the ability to be social at the drop of a hat. I would love to be able to make decisions and not debate everything in my head to the point of inaction. I would love to have focus.
Then again, perhaps there's no such thing as these mythical "normal" people; maybe they're all just on better drugs.