Craziness is a festering theme for me and periodically I doubt my sanity. I have tried to devise algorithms by which to measure my madness, if indeed there is any. So it was a given I’d check out Jon Ronson’s new book. Ronson, of The Men Who Stare At Goats, brings us The Psychopath Test. I perused it with interest.
Out on the balcony of my second floor apartment I tipped back and forth in the wicker rocking chair, working a rut into the floorboards. Ever since relocating to Key West I’ve developed yet another tic, worshipfully watching the sunset. In between chapters I glanced up, espied the dissolving day and inhaled the sensual feast in the enveloping richness. Is this crazy?
Interrupting my research Joon phoned with a proposition. Joon lives in Hoboken, in a shiny new apartment with views of Manhattan. She sent Jpgs. Her home is airy and bright. There’s a full service saloon in each of the supersonic elevators. Well, I exaggerate, but you get the flavor. I said yes a shade before Joon asked me if I’d like to rent one of the many bedrooms. Deluxe, super comfortable and I’d only have to contribute a pittance. Best of all I would get to live with Joon, a friend I adore. Caught in the incoming tide of excitement, I said yes.
Drifting from reality I imagined life with Joon, saw a mental montage missing only a soundtrack. Us sitting on a sofa, sharing a laugh. Us in the kitchen, me on a countertop, Joon chopping something leafy. And then I saw her leaving for work in the mornings and me burrowing deeper into bed, blackout curtains drawn, snuffling like a truffle pig beneath layers in a chilled cave. I saw eons potentially sopped up by hibernation. I saw how eventually I would have to leave the sumptuous apartment. I would have to go outside and meld with the crowded planet that is Hoboken. I pictured the traffic and I thought I could smell the metallic air. Summers of cement-refracted heat, winters of dirty snow. And then a rooster crowed his throaty long call and I looked around at the green palm trees and the pink and white Victorian houses. Checked up at the bruising sky and the glow from the receding sun that brightly hemmed the edges of clouds shaped like sails.
The Psychopath Test serves up some scientific research though weighs in more heavily with personal observations. It is great entertainment. It posits if you find yourself asking if you are a psychopath, the answer is no. A true psychopath does not question themselves.
I think a better test is ask yourself, if you were living in Paradise, would you move to New Jersey, even for the deal of the century? From the rocker on my balcony gazing on a riotous sunset I phoned Joon, “I love you dearly, and thanks all the same, but I’m not psycho.”