The Outsider is always with me. I’ve never seen him but I hear his voice in my head.
His voice is kind and brimming with a quiet, wry humour. His is the voice of the lithe old man who has seen the world and found even cruelty beautiful in its way. His is the voice of the curious child whose perfect naiveté grants absolute clarity.
The outsider is my trusted companion: constant, calm and true. He is unaffected by me, by how I feel, by shit that happens, by what they think or by what they say. He sees honestly and often narrates.
Imagine me, 23 years old, driving home late at night in the rain. Just as I felt the wheels losing traction on the slick tarmac I hear his voice: “You’re never going to make that corner you know” (He ends a lot of sentences with “you know”). “You were driving too fast; pretty stupid”.
As the car spun through its first rotation and clipped something with a dull crunchy thrup, the outsider chuckled. “Not a bad way to die – young, fast and fearless – good narrative overtones”: he seemed almost proud.
Three or four revolutions and another jarring crunch later the car stopped moving. I was mostly unharmed and deeply surprised by it. The outsider said nothing more that difficult night, but I knew he was nearby: I could his feel his infectious joy in the world, in the richness of it all, in the sheer variety and complexity.
The Outsider is always with me. Perhaps he is me. Perhaps he is all that is me.