At the great practical-life advice blog Mark and Angel Hack Life, I recently found the following post: 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself. First on their list: "Stop spending time with the wrong people." And #5: "Stop trying to be someone you're not." Yes, we've all heard these prescriptions a million times. But maybe that's because it takes that many times of hearing them before we actually follow them.
Case in point: Cockatoo frequently spends time with the wrong people. They usually fall into one or more of three categories: the Conservatives, the Idiots, and the Lunatics. Cockatoo hangs out with them because she's afraid they'll be hurt if she blows them off. Even if she's very careful, subtle, and polite about it. For some reason she believes that though these people are not in touch with reality enough to avoid falling into these categories, they are in touch enough to sense that she's blowing them off.
Well, it's possible. But is it probable? Reality-testing-deficiency, in Cockatoo's experience, is kind of a general condition; crazy/stupid about one thing usually means crazy-stupid about a lot of things. So, starting now, Cockatoo is going to assume that her blowing off is just one more thing these people will not be in touch with the reality of.
And even if they are, so be it. Hanging out with them usually means hiding the fact that Cockatoo is a progressive liberal, smart, and sane. And that means she goes to bed with a sickly, guilty, shameful, resentful feeling that keeps her awake and makes her want to avoid the rest of humanity indefinitely. That's not good. So let the blowing off begin.