Becoming aware of the different personalities one inhabits. I’m not talking about traits, but complete and separate beings within self that cannot inhabit the same room as they are anathema to each other, is good. The more personalities one can pull out of oneself the more adaptable one is to uncontrolled circumstances. The person who greets a nun becomes other with a few drinks when dancing at a discotheque. What about the Saudi prince who was recently arrested, hung upside down and tortured? If he’s still alive, I bet he has a hell of a story to tell folks of how he survived. Because the rich prince he had been could not handle what was happening. He became someone else to cope with the bad experience.
When I was a young person first starting out I lost a job I liked as a supermarket grocery checker on the main street of my hometown. I worked in a mini-supermarket whose big mama corporate main store was out in the burbs.
We had a mix of customers from main street store workers, shoppers picking up necessities for the evening meal, kids looking for snacks. The company catered to Jews and I would wait on orthodox men in their black outfits, their exotic hats and side curls. It was a good place to work and the staff was quirky and interesting. The other grocery checker was lesbian and the produce man, middle-aged, handsome, in the sweetest most innocent way let me know he had the hots for me. The store folded and I needed to get money, quick. The only place that would hire me on such short notice was Hillcrest Poultry.
My job was to stand on a platform in front of a conveyer belt, there were 4 of us on each side of it, and grab a giblet, a liver, a neck and a heart as they passed by, enfold them in a wrapper and plop it into one of the chickens on a conveyer above me. It was a slaughter-house with killers walking by us on their break covered in blood. No heat in a cement building and the meat eating roaches, bits of meat flying in all directions, were 2 inches long. There were people fucking in the locker room. Then on the bus home afterward I stank so bad people sitting nearby would get up and move as far from me as they could. I couldn’t stand the smell either. Two weeks (they hold back a week’s pay) is how long I lasted. Hillcrest lost a lot of workers similarly 2 weeks after hiring them; they had a rule to cover that contingency – paychecks were not handed out till the end of the workday.
I could not stay another minute in that horrible place. What to do? I thought of trying to pull the I’m sick routine. Something very interesting happened when I went to the office. I became ill, quite unwell. I walked out slowly paycheck in hand wanting to get home and in bed. Once on the bus, I began to feel better. It was a shocking revelation in which I had actually become a different person who was ill, weak, with fever and nausea.
We hardly know the person we inhabit.
“The unenlightened man keeps a tight hold on himself because he is afraid of losing himself; he can’t trust neither circumstances nor his own human nature; he is terrified of being genuine, of accepting himself as he is and tries to deceive himself into the belief that he is as he wishes to be, but these are the wishes, the desires that bind him, and it is such desires as these that . . . cause of human misery.”