If you’ve never worn a saucepan on your head for any length of time, I don’t greatly recommend it as a headpiece of comfort. When I wore a small gravy pan into town many years ago, it kept slipping down the back of my head, and the handle would occasionally hit my shoulder, producing a not-altogether-unpleasant “bong” through my skull. I’m reasonably sure it didn’t have any gravy still in it, because it probably would have remained more stationary on my pate.
What is interesting about wearing an item of cookware however, is the instant sense of self-awareness it produces. On this particular occasion I became acutely aware of myself and everyone around me, and let me say… it was not altogether pleasant. Many pairs of eyes warily rested upon my own, searching deeply, no doubt, for a murderous penchant or some other recalcitrant sign of insanity.
In the meantime, I was highly adrenalised. This behaviour was obviously threatening to many people, not least to my own sense of self. All my normal, beige, behavioural scripts were jumping up and down, screaming. A simple metal pot on my head was turning my world upside down.
If I’ve raised you boys correctly, both of you will have a sense of awareness of yourselves. One thing you should realise is that most people are not self-aware. That’s not being nasty or pompous. It is the truth. Most people do what they do robotically, as if they have a computer script that they run for each activity.
RUN: INTERACTING WITH WORK COLLEAGUES SCRIPT
RUN: BITCHING ABOUT FRIENDS SCRIPT
RUN: ARGUING WITH SPOUSE SCRIPT
RUN: TRYING SOMETHING NEW SCRIPT
We all have these scripts. They make life simpler, with less mental overhead. They also make life dull and predictable. Scripts are the primary reason many people are bored with their little boxy lives.
Self awareness is important because it gives you a choice. You can choose to run a script or not. You can choose to run part or all of a script. When I chose to walk into town wearing a saucepan, I was ditching many scripts I held dear, and the world was suddenly a very bright and very real place to inhabit.
I walked up to the counter to buy the items I wanted, balancing my headwear so as not to drop it on some unlucky toddler’s scalp. The lady behind the counter examined me closely.
“Are you a pothead or something?” she asked.
Maybe I was.