Saturday, January 13, 2018

To Catch a Raindrop

I have always been a misfit. What seems to be so elementary to everyone else is totally beyond my comprehension. What everyone else does…how they interact with one another and seem automatically to understand what is expected of them…is to me the deepest of mysteries and a source of very real anguish.

It’s as though I have been sent out into a rainstorm for the specific purpose of catching a raindrop. Just one raindrop. But not just any raindrop, mind you: a specific raindrop. I have its detailed description: it is roughly globular in shape, and it is wet. This is, it has been made clear to me, all the information I should require or will be given. It is to be retrieved intact, and not to be contaminated by being diluted by or blended with any other raindrop. My failure to do so will be and is taken as absolute, irrefutable proof of my total incompetence and inadequacy as a human being.

I have been a raindrop catcher all my life, and at the end of each day, back from the failed hunt, inside where it is warm and dry, I picture everyone else proudly displaying their own perfect, pristine, and prismatic raindrops. I imagine they keep them in display cases, neatly cataloged, and referenced with an infuriating casualness. (“Oh, this one I got December 22, 1990. It was a snowflake when I first saw it, but I recognized it at once, and when it turned into a raindrop, I had it.”) To me, and to my great shame, raindrops are raindrops and they all look alike.

I tell myself that all of this is nonsense, and that I am really no more incompetent than anyone else. Unfortunately, I don’t believe me. This sense of alienation, of being alone and neither understanding nor understood is, once again, why I write, because despite all my pontifical blather, I know I am not alone in being alone.

The realization that I expect far too much of myself does not stop me from expecting it. I never cease to measure myself against others, and I never fail to come up short.

The problem lies in the fact that I do, truly, want to be so very much more than I have ever been, or than I can ever realistically hope to be. I want to be a good person, and I really do try. I want to be liked by everyone (an indication of the illogic of my expectations). I do sincerely try to live the Golden Rule and I am ashamed of myself when I find myself being petty or insensitive to others. I largely succeed in not disliking anyone as an individual, though there are large groups of people for whom I have nothing but utter contempt—primarily those who presume to speak for God, and those (often the same groups) who are convinced they have the right to dictate and pass judgement on how other people live their lives.

I cannot comprehend or tolerate bigotry or hypocrisy—which, for some unknown reason my computer’s “dictionary” insists is spelled “hypocreaceae”—or gratuitous cruelty or even lack of common civility. We can all be so much better…I can be so much better…why are we not? Why am I not?

While there is a great deal of pain in frustration in holding myself up to standards nearly impossible to meet, I keep telling myself that because I cannot meet them does not mean I should not try.

Everything begins somewhere. And for me (since I cannot and will not presume to speak for you) I think I’ll be on the right track as soon as I can catch that one perfect raindrop. Wish me luck.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from and; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/ You can find information about Dorien's books at his web site:

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