Thursday, October 24, 2013

Introduction to Societal Myopathy

There's a certain social awkwardness that arises whenever I meet someone.  And not just the first time I meet them, but usually every time thereafter.  I don't know if there's a name for it...as anything I'd call it has already been taken.  Wandering eye....ADD...none of it describes it perfectly.  The syndrome is best described as my ability to be hyper focused on a particular physical "flaw" that a person is exhibiting during some close conversation I'm having with them.  And know I'm not saying that I can't handle people with Cerebral Palsy or something equally douchey of me to be horrified by.  This could be something as unimportant as a stray nose hair sticking out during the conversation, or some nervous muscle tick...doesn't matter.  If it's happening, it's ALL I can focus on.  And then of course I start exaggerating the situation in my mind.

That's what happened on Tuesday when I dropped my car off to be looked at by the body shop.  At this body shop, I met Melvin, a seemingly genuine older guy who was walking me through the estimate.  When I first shook his hand, I noticed that he only had 3 fingers.  This of course was my focus for the entire estimate, to the point where I'm not really sure what he told me at all.  Of course, not paying attention to an important conversation is my forte.  But in my effort to try and make up for the fact that I was obviously staring at his hand, I tried to shake that hand as many times as possible, to try and make him not feel like this:

I have empathy...

I'm convinced that Melvin was fully aware of the fact that I was staring at him, a fact that I'm keenly aware will affect how I interact with him the next time I see him.  Which makes me more nervous and in an effort to try and avoid looking at his hand, it is ALL i will stare at.  You have to understand it's not the disfigurement itself that bothers me.  It's the fact that I know I'm not supposed to look at it that focuses my brain on that and only that.  It's like staring at the sun.  I never think to do that, unless I actively think about the fact that it's not something I should do.  Then it's all I want to do.  I want to stare at it, just to prove that I wasn't doing it before.  What is that?!  That doesn't even make sense.  It's a deeply rooted psychological issue that I'm sure I don't want to ever address directly.  But if you and I ever interact, and you notice that my eyes are focusing on something other than your words, please know that it's nothing serious.  I apologize in advance for how self-conscious I am making you feel when I do that, and I promise I'm listening to what you're saying.  I know that's just a small mole you have there on your face.  It's not your fault that what I'm seeing is this:

 You should have sympathy...

I'd like to think this blog provides you with some insight into my mind.  I'm sure I'm too afraid to get too deep into how this mousetrap I have under this full head of hair works, and I'll probably never be brave enough to do a Donald Glover style Instagram rant on Marriott stationary, but at least you get to know me a little bit better.   After reading this you know that in any conversation, my mind splits into two parts.  The one that listening to what you are telling me, and the other that's wondering how soon before you realize that I know that one of your arms is longer than the other, and that i'm imagining this...

Hints of Sociopathy...

So why do I do this?  I"m sure it's a projection of my own perceived flaws, that I need to see in others to humanize them more in my eyes.  But it's dark, right?  I feel like it's kind of a dark thing, to actively seek out the disfigurement in somebody else....I have no idea what else to say in this post.  This one went in a real weird direction.  I need to stick with top 10 lists and rants about fox news from now on.  Or maybe just get back to watching You Tube all day.  So yeah....weird Thursday.

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