I’m Never ‘On’

(like the light switch in Natalie Bennett’s house)

That’s a bit of a clunky phrase really, but I think the point behind it is a valid one, that some people are either ‘on’, or they are ‘off’. The former refers to a public persona, both in terms of how you appear – lie not wearing pyjamas – and how you act – being talkative and friendly and stuff – and I’ve met people who are always ‘on’ in this respect; they always present themselves neatly, and are always up for a chat or to hang out. On the other side, some people are ‘off’, in that they are less talkative (not necessarily less friendly) and they’re wearing their designated ‘lazy guy’ clothes, which is usually a combination of tracky trousers and a vest with a food stain of some unknown origin on it. And while most people flip between the two, depending on whether they’re in a public or private setting, I don’t: I’m never ‘on’.

I was thinking about this because there is a Halloween party on the horizon, to which I am thinking of attending, and so am in need of a costume. Now I hate to be a killjoy, but dressing up for ‘fun’ and taking an interest in my appearance in general is so out of character it’s insane; you guys will probably enjoy dressing up as things, but if ever someone in a costume claims to be me, you’d be forgiven for beating them with a board with a nail driven through it and demanding ‘who are you and what have you done with the real James?’.

People will say that it’s fun, and an excuse to be a bit silly, but that’s my point; I don’t really have a ‘being silly’ setting; I like to think that I’m not totally dull to the point of being uncommunicative, but I’m defensively confident in my arseholish, society-dismissing identity, and wouldn’t really feel comfortable outside of it, whether it’s wearing a costume or getting pissed at a party.

Am I shy? Am I afraid? I’d argue not, because these are phases you go through when meeting new people, rather than inherent character traits; I don’t fear my friends, nor do I not want to embarrass myself, I’m just worryingly eager to use the phrase ‘that’s not really my thing, mate’.

This isn’t to say I don’t have interests, and that I’m incapable of enjoying myself in a reasonably uncontrolled manner, it’s just that I’ll engage with those things while being a bit of a guarded, uncooperative prick because – and you can all have one free punch at my face for saying this – that’s who I am.


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