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.