One more reprint for a busy birthday weekend.

I’m walking up the street with my friend. I’m maybe fourteen or fifteen. She’s a couple years older. A fine mist starts.

Friend: It’s raining.

Me (struck by some awesome whim): No, it’s not.

Friend: No, really. I just felt a drop.

Me: I don’t feel anything.

The rain gets slightly heavier.

Friend: It’s definitely raining.

Me: Uh, I’m sorry. I don’t feel anything.

Friend: Look. I can see it.

Me: I…[shrug] sorry.

Friend: You can’t see that?

I shake my head slowly.

Friend: But I’m sure it’s raining.

Me (feigning concern): Um. Look, are you sure you’re okay?

Friend: But I can feel it. I’m getting wet.

Me: I’m really sorry.

I bite my lip. My friend looks at me, then at the ground. We walk along in silence.

Friend (quietly): You really don’t think it’s raining, do you?

Me: Oh, of course it’s raining. I’m just messing with you.

It was then and there that I learned just how malleable people are, that however much we might think of ourselves as discrete individuals, we’re prey to all sorts of outside influences. It was a hell of a lesson, even if I gave it to myself.

Oh, yeah. She hit me pretty hard for that one. We both agreed I’d deserved it.


  1. Manly Bowler says

    Seriously, that was both funny and really mean. I’m sure I’d have you punched some more, just so you don’t try that again. 😉

  2. says

    This reminds me of Caroline B. Cooney’s young adult series “Losing Christina”, and a dozen other psychodramatic stories, movie plots, and infamous psychological experiences, in which a person is slowly driven insane by someone else. It always makes me shiver when I consider how tenous our hold of reality seems to be, how quick we might be to doubt our senses and intuition when we’re put in the right – er, wrong -situation.

  3. says

    Manly, I promise I wasn’t doing it to be mean. I was trying very hard to understand how people worked at that point in my life. Which probably made me even more dangerous. :)

    Biodork, exactly. This has stuck with me as long as it has not because it was a cool trick I pulled off but because it taught me so much about the social nature of our perceptions. It still creeps me out.