Seen/heard/perceived, but not observed – “tuned out”

2014-12-01 11:22:51 PST

So, … some several/many weeks back or so, something I noticed. Something on an advertisement. So this ad, a banner ad poster thingy on a bus shelter, turns out it was something I waked by about 5 or more days a week – pretty much at least every single workday, day after day, month after month. Interesting bit I noticed, is what I’d not noticed earlier. Each time I’d seen it before, likely before my eyes/brain had made it so much as about 1/3 of the way down the thing, my head basically wrote it off as an advertisement for some Disney something or another – movie, or merchandise related, whatever. Well, what I finally noticed, text bit further down on the poster. Nothing to do with Disney at all, no mention whatsoever of Disney or anything Disney related on the poster. Just had bit of a Disney-like cartoonish character to the ad, in the way it was drawn and put together.

So, … for better or worse, my head, at least consciously, is often pretty darn effective at “tuning out” stuff it deems uninteresting. E.g. advertisements. At financial institutions, I’ll typically go to ATM, and avoid dealing with actual live human – mostly notably as I really like to avoid whatever the hell sales pitch they may try and throw at me on whatever financial services they may be pushing that day/week/month or whatever. Just don’t want to be propositioned or listen to it nor have to put in the extra effort to convince them I’m not interested. So, … ATM. And ATMs, especially nowadays, have colored screens and graphics, and … yes, advertisements. Always pushin’ some darn thing or another. But ya know, all the years and years I’ve been using ATMs, I can’t think of any specific product or service they were pushing with those ads/displays on the ATMs … not a one – not a single one that I can recall at all. Likewise thinking on-line advertisements with video stuff. Watch some videos … a bunch even. Site includes some ads. Site gives a survey – okay, whatever, sometimes I’m game for it … take the survey. The surprising bit to me (and perhaps also them) is how little I recall of the advertisements. E.g. often I not only can’t say if I saw some particular advertisement or not, but can’t say if I saw an ad for some particular brand or not, or what slogans I did/didn’t see, or which slogans go with which brands. So, yeah, a whole lot of that I mentally just “tune out”. Not sayin’ it’s got little or zero influence, as the subconscious picks up at least some fair bit of it. But a whole lot of it often misses the conscious.

Non-advertising example. Someone made an inappropriate disparaging remark (and not judged by me – so judged by someone else who witnessed it). Anyway, disparaging remark came from someone I didn’t know from a hole in the ground, had never met before, and had effectively if not precisely zero interest in what they did or didn’t think of me. Well, I think my head keyed into the nature of what they were starting to say – perhaps picked it up by (more likely) intonation, or (less likely) body-language or other indicators, and whatever the hell they said, it was really quite as if I’d not heard it at all. I mean they certainly said it in manner and volume and circumstances I could very much most certainly hear it. And it’s not like I was focused on or distracted by something else when it occurred. But, whatever it was they said, as they started to say it, seems to me something in me picked up that I just didn’t give a f*ck about what they were about to say, or were saying, and that I probably didn’t like or disagreed with whatever they were saying or about to say – and it’s like it completely bypassed registering in the conscious beyond that point. Person that saw that occur that was right by me at that time, almost immediately after remarked to me how inappropriate and impolite what the person had said to me was, and it was as if, at least for the most part, I was oblivious to it. I picked up on the start of some trace of some critical remark they were making, and after that – nothing. “Tuned out”.

Mentioned it before, but don’t recall if I mentioned it at all on this blog. But somewhat different context. Someone was talking. I was supposed to be paying attention, but I wasn’t really listening or paying attention at all. Instead, I was distracted, running through my head, the rules of the particular exercise we were doing, how the turns were to progress, etc., etc. – basically focused on a bunch of the overall, while at the same time (we’d just started) totally missing out on what I was presently supposed to be paying attention to. “Oops” – tuned out – unintentionally. I wasn’t even looking at the person as they spoke. Then we were to guess, based upon listening and watching and paying attention to them talk (oops), what they were feeling. I couldn’t think of one single word they said – as I was not paying attention when I was supposed to be giving them my utmost attention and focus. Well, I thought, what did it “sound” like. What did it feel like – based only upon the impression of the sound of what I’d heard, and with zero recollection of so much as a single word they’d uttered. And, I took my guess based upon my impression from that. Others took their guesses too. I was not only the “closest” guess, but the person specifically called out and mentioned that I got it absolutely spot on. Well, sometimes the words get in the way. And often I’m rather to quite good at picking up on intonation. And not necessarily even or at all consciously, but at least subconsciously – and especially on the intonation. Anyway, for better or worse, had failed to watch them, and inadvertently totally “tuned out” on what they were saying … yet still got the intonation and managed to get it spot on working just from the impression/feeling that left me with.

It’s not like I can “tune out” anything and/or everything. May also quite depend upon circumstances, situation, environment, etc. and the “what” in particular. But certainly at least some things in some/many contexts, I do quite “tune out” from, or am at least quite capable of tuning them out.

And can work to relative disadvantage at various times on various things. E.g. when I’m supposed to read and learn/remember something that’s exceedingly boring to me. Such as back in high school, when The Great Gatsby was required reading. I’d read a page, recall absolutely nothing of what I read (my eyes would go over it all line-by-line, but my head would go elsewhere), so I’d reread the page and try to focus more … same results again. So I’d do it yet again (now my head’s getting really frustrated and bored, ’cause it’s not only boring, but it’s seen it twice before) … I’d go over the same page 3 to 10 times, remember none of it – or nearly so, get frustrated, go on to the next page, read that … yeah, same thing again, repeat over ‘n over like that through the whole book. Another example, the movie Halloween. I’d watch it, … starts off with great theme music, then it’s quickly monster dude knife guy chases after and slashes nubile scantily clad young (teens to early 20s) female victims, lather, rinse, repeat – same basic scenario over and over and over again … about the 3rd iteration of that through the movie, and I’m out like a light. Tried watching the movie at least a second, if not 3rd time … same results each time – rather quickly into watching it, it puts me to sleep – literally. Another example – boring mostly redundant training video. Never seen it before, but already know about 75 to 80 % or more of the material (common sense & prior knowledge), the remainder of “new” material (of any substance) being a bunch of specific acronyms and company specific details and some regulatory bodies, functions and relationships of those, and a couple other trivial specific details (two specific numeric quantities). And the video is not self-paced. Can stop it and review or back up or whatever, but it’s mind numbingly slow … at least for me. So, yeah, sure, I watch it, … but I nod off … over and over and over again throughout it. And, at end, I have to take test, and have to pass it with score of 80% or better. I take the test, I pass … with a score of 100%. Absolutely not rocket science, and maybe my subconscious was still skimming the flow of audio. The visual portions were completely unnecessary – would’ve been 4 to 10 or more times faster if they’d just provided a transcript of the training video and nothing else. Well, among other things, sleep is used by the brain to affix memories – maybe that nodding off was useful – video/audio –> subconscious filter/skim –> affix relevant bits needed to short term memory –> pass test with 100% correct. And had to retake that test annually. Yes, next time through, same deal – nodded off lots, passed with 100%. Too, as I think back as a young kid, e.g. much of elementary school – e.g. like especially about/around 2nd grade, I’d daydream a lot while the teacher was lecturing/instructing us. I think mostly because much of it bored me to tears (not literally, but). So, whatever I “had”/wanted to think about, was to me one helluva lot more interesting than most of what the teacher was attempting to teach (and most of it was rather painfully slow paced for me – so it was as if I knew 90% of all the material .. not so much that I did, but more like 10% of the delivery was fresh new first time material, and 90% was repetition of it to try and get us to learn it – by which time my brain had already been exposed to it and it was uninteresting redundancy). So, I’d get in at least some bits of trouble with teacher, e.g. for “not paying attention”. Teacher even had me sent to do a hearing test – suspected I may not be hearing the teacher. Nope, that wasn’t it – hearing tested out perfectly normal. It was only some years later that they more accurately figured it out – a bright student being mostly bored to death by the teaching in class (some exceptions, but mostly pretty bored with it). Was due to school changes and other stuff like that, but eventually, 5th grade teacher referred me to tested for “special class” (which is what they called it where I was at the time). That was an additional class time taken part of each day (or week, or multiple times in the week – I don’t remember specifically), a class “just” for the particularly bright/gifted kids, where they’s mostly give them much more interesting/challenging materials – just the “special students” in the “special class” – a separate teacher/educator/psychologist – whatever/whomever it was they had instruct that “special class” (was same instructor all the time, at least as I recall hearing it, but don’t know that I ever heard more details of the nature of the background/qualifications of the instructor of that “special class” – and was pretty small bunch of students in “special class” – I think like about half a dozen – perhaps at most ten, but I don’t think it was that large). Anyway, after 5th grade (between 5th and 6th, or late in 5th year) I was tested. Not sure precisely what the test was – but I’m sure it was likely “just” and IQ test, or mostly quite similar to that (I wish I knew exactly what it was and what I scored). To this day I still remember two of the questions on the test (not that I was trying to remember the questions) – they were pretty darn trivial to me – at least for the most part, but at least more-or-less moderately interesting at the time. Anyway, I “passed” the test or whatever, … qualified for “special class”. Interestingly, when my 3rd & 4th grade teacher at that same school (yes, had same teacher for both grades at that school), I well remember her reaction upon learning I’d passed the test for “special class” – she was like, “Oh, yeah, I should have recommended you for the test, but didn’t think to do that.” … also, that teacher had been less exposed to me in school, due to moving away and change of school … and later moving back to return to same school again – so that teacher had me for less than a total of a full school year, with more than a total of a year gap between (when I was moved away to other school). When I got to 5th grade, that 5th grade class/teacher was also a most highly excellent teacher … and was also the first time I ever got straight A’s (also the first year I was ever literally getting beat up in fights by bullies, but I’d been bullied plenty before in quite nasty ways – even effectively by a sh*t of a teacher in 1st grade … oh well, life, sh*t happens). Anyway, that 5th grade teacher quite realized my capabilities/potential, and effectively kept me interested and challenged and well working towards and to my capabilities and potential. I think only one teacher before that had ever figured that out. That was in 4th grade (at other school that I was at for bit over an academic year’s span of time … was actually like about one full calendar year plus two months of the following calendar year). When she found me to be dead last on completing an assignment in class, she turned up the heat – threatened to send me to the principal’s office. It had been hours, I was only about half way or so through the assignment (yeah, it bored me … lots, lots of daydreaming and dilly dallying), I think she gave me like only 20 or 30 minutes to finish it (I think most students did the whole thing in about an hour or less), or she’d send me off to the principal’s office. Well, I got it done within that time. So, yeah, guess I was mostly “tuning out” a whole lot of the tedium and boredom of that assignment (which we did very regularly – at least weekly, if not daily). Anyway, 5th/6th grade and beyond, things generally got significantly better for me academically (with some exceptions). First got straight A’s (and a most excellent teacher highly helped that) in 5th grade. Yet another change of schools after that (and hence I never got to go to “special class” – the new school I was moved to had no such program). Anyway, 6th grade – newfangled class – that school didn’t do grades at all for elementary school. Fortunately fair amount of the material there was self-paced – I did very well with that. 7th grade (the first of junior high where I was), I mostly did quite well (lots of but not all A’s), and by late 7th grade(?), or I think it was start of or early into 8th grade, I was getting straight A’s – and mostly got straight A’s (with a couple slight exceptions) from then on through about my first year of college. So, yeah, good, interesting, challenging, certainly is better to avoid me “tuning out”. First year of calculus in college – not only straight A’s – but quite to my surprise, when the instructor let me know specifically how I was doing and what grade I was heading towards or would be getting – I was the top score in the class (though I wasn’t the top score on every single test in the class … but I guess I was often top of the tests, and always well did the homework, etc. – so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, and too, in high school, in graduating class of 600, I was the top math student … though at the time I may not have yet known that – as I was concurrently doing my first year (or 2/3 of a year if we go by units) of college (and for college credit), concurrently with my last year of high school). First year of college Chemistry … from start of class at beginning of year, to end of class at end of the academic year – about 90% of the students didn’t make it through! I was the only one to get get an A grade on both semesters, and the only one to get an A on the 2nd semester. And to give a bit of credit where credit is due – some really excellent school counselors quite set me along that academic track – most notably the doubling up on some high school classes to enable me to get a jump start on college before even finishing high school – a very optimistically rigorous and challenging program that almost no students did, but they challenged me with it and I was highly up to the challenge and did highly well in it (got straight As in every single additional class they recommended I take including through the college stuff I did before even completing high school), and it quite well helped keep me challenged and interested (2/3 of a normal high school load + 2/3 of a normal college load concurrently, + working part time all concurrently eventually turned out to be a wee bit much – but still made it through quite fine and with all straight As on all that (well, except English – always my downfall), so I was quite up to the challenge – so excellent moves and recommendations on their part). And really does concern/worry me now, how schools (especially in California) have had such major cutbacks – and one area of major cutbacks has been school counselors – that much/most of that they’ve just dumped as additional responsibilities of the teachers – and many schools have severely reduced or entirely eliminated the school counselors. Anyway, back on first year college Chemistry … I really missed good friendly “competition”/cooperation too. Fair bit later in 2nd semester I managed to find one (there was only and exactly one) student in the class working on about the same level as me … that was great! Then, egad, almost as soon as I’d barely met them and gotten to know them some wee bit, they were gone. Inquired of the instructor after a bit what had happened. Turned out that student had to leave the class due to a very serious medical condition that had come back. :-/ To this day I still regret not following through on that to see if I could manage to contact them (I didn’t have their contact info – but I might possibly have gotten that from understanding instructor – or have gotten instructor to pass along my well wishes and concerns and my contact info), give some support or whatever – but alas, I was relatively young yet (still only 17), and was quite shocked learning of their situation, I really was just quite stunned, and didn’t know how to react. Don’t think prior to that I’d ever been close to a peer or (potential) friend that was suddenly facing and significantly incapacitated by a highly life-threatening illness. Life, sh*t happens (and some sh*t repeats). But I digress. Anyway, too, e.g. “long boring meetings” – can be very hard for me to stay focused (at least on the meeting!), and I can quite “tune out” – even quite unintentionally (that’s sometimes gotten me in at least some bit of hot water at work … but fortunately really only one place that happened at work, and it was some years ago … yeah, schedule a mandatory (mostly) boring hour long meeting weekly (and early in the morning doesn’t exactly help that), and, yeah, I may not be 100% focused and paying high level of attention to the whole thing – even if I try forcing myself to do so. Oh well. Don’t think I ever missed anything important out of those meetings. My subconscious often tends to listen for key words/phrases – or intonations – and will relatively snap the conscious attention to what’s flying by, if something particularly important/significant/interesting goes whizzing by.

Interestingly, at the same time, some things I pick up in much to great detail. Perhaps topic for some future communication (or blog post or the like).

Under the radar …

2014-12-01 03:21:15 PST

So, I’ve written about it at least some fair bit before, but much(/most?) of the time, I just don’t want the attention, and consequently I often very much try to and do “fly under the radar”. Typical context is work. Technically, I’m quite to highly competent at what I do. Do my peers know it? They tend to figure it out over time, and rather well, but it’s not like I “advertise” it per se – nor even anything close to that. If anything, much of the time I’ll deemphasize my skills and contributions, etc. E.g. not too unusually for a coworker to totally mess something up, I rescue their behind, and … I don’t take credit for it. Sometimes they may give me credit, often not, whatever, I generally do not want any “big deal” made of it in any case. So, in most all the groups I’ve ever been in, I typically become the “go to” person for many of the more challenging technical matters. But, … “fly under the radar”. Though my work tends to be of consistent high quality, when it comes to managers/bosses/supervisors and the like, how aware of that they are/aren’t, what kind of reviews they give me, etc., it tends to be kind’a all over the map. Doing reviews and such showing me anywhere from somewhat below “average”, to quite excellent … even doing same work, same position and group for years, swap around some manager(s), and my performance review will bounce all over the place in how well it rates my work … without me at all changing how I work or the quality thereof. Whatever, I’m kind’a / rather used to it, and doesn’t particularly bother me. I figure the better managers and such will more-or-less manage to figure out that and how I contribute, and how well, etc. … after all, it’s really their job to know how well I do (or don’t) contribute to the work/team/company whatever, and it’s my job to work, and work well. Not my job to demonstrate or prove to them that I’m doing and contributing what I am. After all, I’m mostly hired for my technical skills, not for my sales/marketing skills (what sales/marketing skills – yeah, pretty close to zilch). So, yeah, I don’t do much (like pretty close to zero) of sales/marketing/promotion – and that also does mostly quite also apply to myself. I remember even back to the days of like Jr. High or so, when they’d do various “career assessment” types of tests. And they’d look at my results for careers in persuasion, e.g. sales, and the counselors / career counselors and the like would look over my results on that part of the test results, and it’s like their faces would drop and their reactions would be like, “Uh, yeah, we’re not goin’ there – we’ll just pass that one right on by.” And, yeah, among other things probably goes right along with being rather highly introverted (yes, also wrote about that, see also earlier test results on that etc.). Don’t recall specific numbers, but often on introvert rating scales, I often test out at about 9 out of 10 or 19 out of 20 towards the quite/highly(/”extreme”) introverted end of the scale. Whatever, is how it is.

So, … “under the radar” … too well? Sometimes I quite wonder if I do that too well, or at least at times. E.g. happens – though somewhat rarely, that, e.g. I’ll get laid off. But more noteworthy, manager has no clue how and how much I contributed to the work and team. It’s like peers hear I got laid off, their jaws drop and they’re like, “You laid off him? You’ve got to be kidding?”, and the manager will have about zero clue what I did for the team. I remember some years back talking with one manager after I’d been laid off, and I was amazed at how extremely little they knew of what I did … really they knew just about nothing at all of what I did or my value to the team. I mean really – pretty darn incompetent of that particular manager … if they’d managed to ask around other peers on the team the would’ve had at least some reasonable clue or better, but seems in that particular case they just didn’t do that at all (or didn’t remember, or whatever), and thus essentially had about zero clue. Or maybe they were expecting their underlings to be running around tooting their own horns as to what they were doing and had done – well I wasn’t, so said manager failed to figure it out. Whatever. I don’t know. I guess another symptom of that too, is typically when I change jobs, I get a substantially better salary. Seems an odd way to get a raise, especially how turnover is very expensive to employers (better managers generally realize when an employee – or even well skilled contractor that’s quite familiar with the environment – leaves out the door, the effective cost of replacing them is typically 20 to 50% of their annual salary). So, yep, odd that. One place even rehired me, after laying me off – with a very nice severance package – and they rehired me for more than they could have raised my salary to (their own internal limitations) if they’d kept me continuously employed. So, yeah, I probably rather “under sell” myself rather to quite a lot. And when I venture out or am stuck looking for a new job, and find the “market rate” for my skills, experience, and track record – it’s typically 15 to 25% higher than whatever I was making where I was or had just been. And that’s not shopping around for “highest bidder”, but looking for right employer, environment, commute, etc., and then seeing what they actually offer me – and it’s typically significantly more than where I’m at at that time, or had just been if I was laid off. In another case of quite possibly under the radar, to excess, supervisor was so out-of-touch, they believed I was informed that contract was expiring and was not going to be renewed (was always continuously renewed before that, and in fact earlier communications indicated the contracts would be continuing), but, nope, didn’t happen – contract expired and they weren’t renewing it, but major failure to communicate it to the contractor – me – which left a whole lot of in-progress stuff cut off mid-stream and left high and dry. “Of course” in that particular environment there was a whole lot of messed up stuff, so that was just one more screw-up on their part. And, needless to say, on that one too, it shocked and surprised the peers. So, yeah, too quite the buzz kill for morale in the group. Yep, how not to handle letting someone go or a layoff or contract non-renewal or the like. Best I’ve ever seen is a whole lot ‘o communication and coordination (it’s not exactly rocket science to do that reasonably well). The worst I’ve ever seen – and seen it more than one place – even if it wasn’t me that was getting laid off – the communication totally lacking and/or contrary to what’s actually done, being done, or what happens (e.g. CEO promises “no more layoffs”, and then lays off a whole lot more workers right before Christmas). Anyway, life, work, whatever, sh*t happens – at least sometimes. But too, I wonder, “under the radar” … cases where I did it too much, … or … more so cases of not sufficiently clueful/competent management or the like? Or maybe a bit of both.

I suppose too, certainly also applies to lots of other contexts besides work. But work is, I think, a bit easier to give as reasonably illustrative example – as much of the construct is relatively consistent, and perhaps more commonly generally understood. Whereas lots of other non-work stuff, contexts, circumstances, players/entities involved, nature of interactions, etc., are, at least comparatively, all over the map.

intelligent …

2014-10-29 11:23:45 PST

Okay, so that last post was rather a downer [edit note – was actually thinking of another post on another blog that I posted 2014-09-24, but regardless …]. :-/ Anyway, thought I ought post something more “positive”, … not that I’m specifically aiming posts to be more “positive” or “negative”, or not or any particularly kind of “balance”. More so just they are what they are (at least more-or-less). Anyway, this one is a bit more “positive” … had it in mind for a while to post (mental backlog of a few or more things to post). Anyway …

(Some of) how I’m perceived. First of all, how I often think of and (more-or-less) perceive myself is an interesting mix, much of which is often both conflicting and quite contradictory, yet often views held simultaneously. E.g. “I’m pretty darn average … at least with +- a standard deviation or so.”, and “I’m quite significantly non-average – typically in the 5 to 2% or less at one end of range/scale, or the other, and almost always within one 10% “extreme” end or the other, and not uncommonly down in the small fraction of a percentage point range, at least on many items, anyway.” Be that as it may.

So, … how am I perceived by others? Well, a couple semi-random (okay, maybe cherry picked, … whatever) data points.

Not too long ago (like more recent than my immediately prior post on this blog), bumped into someone I’d not seen in about 15 years. I didn’t recognize the face, but did recognize the (full) name – at least vaguely. The other person recognized and remembered me (at least also along with my first and last name). And that person’s recollections/comments to me about me and our interactions “way back then”? How did that person remember me? At least paraphrasing from memory, the relevant bits, commented upon me as smart/intelligent/bright, and/or word(s) to that effect. Essentially saying that I was bright/intelligent, and (one of the) helpful capable one(s). Anyway, seems the general impression left/recalled, was that I was rather/quite smart, and capable and helpful (so I was top tech talent on that technology in large organization at that time, and working with cutting/leading/bleeding edge technology, and handling it very capably).

Also, in time relatively close to my encountering that person I’d not seen in about 15 years, and likewise not too long ago (like more recent than my immediately prior post on this blog), someone else I’d been interacting with on a project, we met in person for the first time. That person repeatedly expressed to me their being quite impressed with my intelligence (as they stated it), and they also mentioned how impressed they were with how capable I was, and similarly communicated to my “boss” (effectively so) how they were so quite favorably impressed with my work and found me so very helpful. They also commented that approximately 4 years earlier, an entire team had tried to do what I did (and the technology had not significantly changed, and was in fact already in use for over a decade) … that entire team tried to accomplish the needed (technical) goal, and failed, … whereas I, effectively single-handedly, managed to do what that entire team had failed to do.

So, anyway, thought those were “topical”, as I’d received both sets of comments in relatively close proximity of time. Either in isolation I probably would’ve written off as a fluke, but together, … statistical correlation on some meaningful “source” data? Maybe. Whatever.

I’ll mention one other – just because it also occurred in same timeframe (more recent than my immediately prior post on this blog). My “boss” (effectively so) commented, saying (again, paraphrasing from memory, so I may not have the exact wording that was used) that said “boss” thought there was nothing technically that I couldn’t do. Well, … my technical skills in my field of expertise are quite good, but I wouldn’t rate them that highly. There certainly are plenty that know the stuff much, even much much better than I. But in most of the work environments I’ve been in, I’m typically top technical expert for at least most of those matters within whatever team I happen to be in … or if not top, usually within the top 10% within the team (which typically means I’m one of the two at the very top … probably also means I ought find more technically challenging work – but that itself is rather difficult towards the top). But I digress. That technical skill isn’t really “intelligence” or “intelligent”. That’s much more of what I’d mostly just attribute to highly skilled. Not the same thing (though there might happen to be some bits of overlap and/or correlation).

Anyway, just thought that was interesting observation/feedback/perception(s) – of others of me, and happening to also span quite a number of years – so seems relatively consistent. “Perception is 90% of reality”? Uhm, … well, at least for them. That’s their realities, and for them, how I am in it. My reality may be absolutely and completely different.

Some other random bits on perceptions. Those that know me very well (and there are dang few that have walked the planet that would fit that category) have a very different impression of me, than most everyone else. Uhm, … but we’re going to be a “positive” post here? Uh, yeah, okay, whatever, … uhm, … okay, … those that know me very well generally quite like and appreciate me.

heritable: social cognition

2014-07-12 22:12:18 PST

“Genes Drive Half of” …
“social skills” … “run in the family”
“tasks were significantly heritable” … “those that required social cognition”
I.e. (significantly) genetic.
Okay, chimps, but … just sayin’

dreams … teensy bit better

2014-07-01 00:07:46 PST

Semi-random bit.

So, I guess over the last several weeks or so, the dreams have been, well, … at least a teensy bit better. Far from great, but what the heck, maybe the subconscious is being just a trace more hopeful/optimistic … if even quite tentative/guarded optimism?

E.g. over the past several week, did have two dreams with a trace of human contact in ‘em. Not much, but hey, better than zilch on that front, eh?

One dream had a friend in it from years past, that friend long since dead, years ago, but the friend was in a dream, and hey, I got a hug, and we actually got to spend a little bit of time hanging out and having some nice bit of conversation. Ah well, that was that bit of dream. Still miss that friend.

Another dream, a trace of physical contact – not even sure who it was with in the dream. Seemed it was someone I sort’a kind’a maybe/barely/marginally liked, certainly not someone I was all that interested in or excited about, wasn’t even having any conversation or dialog with the person. Just some modest trace of contact, but hey, it felt okay, maybe even “good” – although it was more of just kind’a let it be there, not really like any kind of “active” contact … just kind’a marginally touching. No more, no less. That was the bit of contact in that dream.

Dreams otherwise? Eh, nothing especially noteworthy jumps to mind from recent stuff. Often at least somewhat “interesting” – at least of what I recall, but nothing really all that noteworthy.

Dreams, contact not, isolation, …

2014-06-06 07:54:08 PST

I suppose perhaps it ought not surprise me. But so much isolation, lack of connection, lack of contact, lack of real conversations, about zilch on any human physical contact. Anyway, dreams, sex in dreams? Physical contact in dreams? Conversation(s) in dreams? All highly lacking. What do I find myself getting “excited” about – if even moderately so, in dreams? Getting to hang out in proximity. No contact, no touch, no conversation, not even doing anything, not even seeing the person, just merely getting to hang out within a few feet of ‘em, quietly, nobody saying a darn thing, them being “okay” with that – nothing more, and nothing at all happening – didn’t even get to see ‘em – they were totally under the bed coverings, head-to-toe, almost as if someone had made the bed with them in it, but instead, rather, they’d just inserted themselves that way, totally and completely covering themselves up. And I thought it was a big exciting deal to get to hang out within several feet of ‘em like that – I was quite working up to it and trying to achieve that. Okay, so didn’t quite actually even achieve that, but hey, at least I was quite looking forward to it – or at least a distinct possibility thereof. Yeah, that’s about as exciting as the “human contact” in even my dreams gets to be these days. Ah, if even my reality were so much as merely that “exciting”, but alas, not even close to so little as that. FML.

Introvert – yet another test

2014-05-27 04:43:35 PST

Nothin’ to see here, move along, move along.

Yeah, no surprises here.

Took another introvert/introversion test, and the results:
“Very Introverted” … “You scored” … “higher than 99% of your peers.”

Dream – Sinking Ship

2014-03-30 15:39:04 PST

So, bit less than a week ago – actually morning of 2014-03-24 – I had a particularly interesting dream. I thought it rather noteworthy in its relative uniqueness for me, what it did and didn’t include and how, how I, and others, did and didn’t react, felt or appeared to feel, setting, depictions, etc. Interpretation? I’ll not specifically comment upon that (not that I even necessarily know), but some metaphors and idioms and the like do certainly come to mind, e.g., “sinking ship”, “that ship has sailed”, etc., among many additional possibilities. So, without further introduction – the dream, or at least most all I recall of it.

I’m on a ship, sailing from port. Not even out of the the harbor yet. Seemed kind of like a tall sailing ship, but much more ship than sail, and I don’t recall seeing or noting any sails – don’t think I even noticed masts, though perhaps I didn’t notice – fairly small relative to the rest of the ship, or perhaps from where I was positioned, or the relative darkness, wasn’t particularly visible. Weather? Clear, calm, quiet, dark. With an emphasis on dark. Most everything appeared quite dark. The ship of dark wooden construction. Rather of wood heavily stained and darkened from weather exposure – most everything on the ship looked like that – certainly at least the exterior, and not much better on any interior bits.

So, the ship – not even yet out of the harbor. Not sure exactly where it was coming from or going to, but I somehow got the impression that it was coming from the US or Canada, bound for somewhere in Western Europe, or the other way ’round. In any case set out for a very long sea – neigh ocean – voyage. But the ship was very tall – at least in proportions. Seemed almost more like a tall building than a ship – appeared very disproportionately top-heavy, and seemed to me rather remarkable that it even stayed upright and didn’t very immediately topple over and fall to one side. Yet it stayed upright. And it was teaming with people. Highly overcrowded. Not quite to the point of being packed in like sardines, but all pretty much standing shoulder-to-shoulder, and having quite to shuffle to even move some modest bits about each other. Deck upon deck, seems probably at least a half dozen or more decks high, all likewise packed with people. Men, women, children. Dingy dark clothes. Sort of like a scene one might imagine of an impoverished neighborhood from some 150 or more years ago plucked somewhere out of Western Europe, or perhaps slightly less likely some town on the US Eastern – or perhaps Western? – seaboard. And I remember thinking it seemingly remarkable that the ship was even staying upright. And that sailing across sea or ocean seemed … well, seemed to me the ship would barely be seaworthy enough to make it to a close by adjacent harbor – let alone across sea or ocean. It seemed as rickety and run down and battered as the dark appearance of the wood it was constructed of. Seemed almost more like some shanty wooden weather-beaten shed – or of such materials – that somehow existed as a much larger ship, than some modest shed. Many stories tall of ship decks – decks got larger going up, then seemed to get a bit smaller at the very top two decks or so – but not by much. And the ship appeared exceedingly top-heavy – lots of ship above the water, and didn’t appear to conceivably be any way that what was beneath the water could support and balance all that – yet it moved very straight, tall, and upright, though slowly, out from port.

And then it was sinking. Not even out of the harbor. It was going down, and the waters were very deep. Not falling to a side, but just straight on down, relentlessly, not swiftly, but not exactly slowly either, … steadily, relentlessly, unstoppablely down. And the ship’s crew? – Abandon ship. Very matter-of-factly. Nobody seemed at all paniced – not in the least. Hardly concerned or worried at all. They were just following crew directions to abandon ship. There was a direction rather like “women and children first” – but that wasn’t quite it. It was first, young children, then older children. Then women, then men, and lastly crew – if there be time – but no one seemed concerned if their was time or not, or if there be enough life boats (there were hardly any) or life preservers. And off they went. Maybe some very few lifeboats first – if there were even that – I think perhaps one to a few – small ones, if even any at all. Then children – young children – with life preservers – off into the water. But a very odd sort of life preservers – at least those I saw. They were sort of like a cut-out chain of paper dolls, but of a white foam, like one would use for a packing material – not like styrofoam, but similar material that’s more flexible and squeezeable/squishable/bendable without breaking and some fair bit more translucent in appearance. And this chain of paper-doll-like life preservers, each “doll” – or life preserver, shaped more like a standing man or kid – about kid-sized – so I guess these were the “children” life preservers. And apparently the idea was – and the instructions were, each kid grab onto one, and also hold hands – so the kids were going off hand-to-hand in a chain like the preservers themselves, while also clutching onto the preservers. The perservers weren’t very thick – something between 1 cm. and an inch at most – and probably not even that. So these kids were going off, arm to arm as a chain, with these preservers, straight off into the water like that, dropping into the water as a chain. And drop into the water they did. Preservers and all, they sank, just drifting down into the water. Cold dark, but pretty darn clear water. And no one seemed particularly concerned that the kids were sinking like this. Not sure what my role in all this was, but I recall thinking/remarking that they weren’t working. That they’d be much better off busting up some of the wooden chairs on the ship – which had rather woven wooden backs to them, and using those and weaving their arms on and through those, rather than using the foam life preservers. That poor as the chair backs would be for “life preservers”, they at least would make for some bit of floating debris to hang on to. So I was encouraging them to do that, and some kids were going in like that, I think, and it seemed to be working, … though no one seemed to particularly care one way or the other. Well, even for myself, seemed like I didn’t much care nor was particularly invested in it – just seemed to be a practical matter – those don’t work, this (approach) works a bit better – use this, not those. Really not much concern beyond that – though when I saw chains of kids sinking down into the water I think it occurred to me “what a waste”, or something like that.

So, ship sinking in the harbor. And the people of the harbor? Though we’d just left port, and seems there must have, or should have? – been people at the port, perhaps many, as the ship was going down, the harbor seemed totally deserted and quiet – perhaps even “dead” in some way. There was absolutely no one at or around the harbor that noticed – perhaps there was no one there to notice. And all on the ship seemed to ignore the harbor and its proximity – as if no notice or attention, let alone help, would come from there. Or perhaps as if we were totally surrounded by people – yet all so very totally alone and mostly quite helpless – that seemed a relatively recurrent theme in what was happening. Everything pretty dark – harbor, ship, water – dark but clear, sky – I noticed nothing distinguishing at all in the sky – perhaps moderately high thick solid overcast. Harbor? Old, dark, like the ship – wooden. I think there was like one or two lanterns out on the harbor – just enough to illuminate it some fair bit to make out some key features – notably the nature of the wood construction and shape, where it ended, and the darkness of the water began – but really not much else.

And the ship continued going down. I quite noticed it was going down at a rate too fast for the rate of abandoning ship that was taking place. I could see if it kept going as it was, many on the ship would just get sucked under right with the ship – never having had time to get off the ship in its orderly evacuation. Somehow I noted that, and worked to improve that a bit. Not sure if I was somehow some lowly part of crew, or just someone who started to take action. But I noticed ship was going down faster than could be evacuated – at least as it was being practiced thus far. There were additional railing gates on the ship that could be opened. I noted that, and I think I remarked that they too needed to be used. Somehow I got them open – not sure if I did it myself, or got someone else to do it – but got additional railing gates open, so more people could get off the ship more quickly. That quite seemed to help. Yet all seemed to be quite going about it in a very nonchalant manner. Off the sinking ship, into the water, with whatever life preservers, or bit of floating debris (broken bit of chair) or whatever they could manage, I think perhaps some small number in lifeboats, but the rest all right into the water. And nobody seemed particularly concerned about it. And despite the very close proximity to harbor, all were quite accepting of the fate which they were sure awaited them. The water was cold – not icy, but cold. And they all knew that without rescue they’d die. And they all knew they would not be rescued – that no one would be rescued. And that all would die. And none seemed at all particularly worried or concerned about it. All just seemed to have a quite poor fate, and not be concerned about it or motivated to try to do anything about it, and they all felt there was really nothing they could do about it anyway. I guess I felt like all I managed to do was buy them a slight bit of time – nothing more than that. And I too, quite seemed mostly very unconcerned about the whole mess. And down, down, down, the ship relentlessly went – people off into the water, and ship down. I think that’s pretty much all I remember of that dream – and perhaps about all there was to that particular dream.

Hiatus

2014-03-30 14:20:44 PST

Yeah, I’ve been taking a break from blogging.

When I started taking that break – hiatus – I figured it would be at least moderately long time, … perhaps “indefinitely”.

Why?

Time? Priorities? Sort’a, but that’s not most especially it.

Most notably, and not necessarily in any particular order:

Hardly anyone reads my blogs. Heck, only one person on the planet that I actually know. And it’s not like doing the blogging has increased that number. No, it was one before, and has stayed at one. I don’t know, maybe even shrank. For all the writing, and fair bit of it motivated as a “better” or “preferred” (or seemingly so) means of communication with that one person … well, that hasn’t worked out very well – for me, nor for for them. So, yeah, all the writing/blogging, hasn’t worked very well for me, for them, or me making any kind of real “connection” to anyone else on the planet.

Writing as communication/expression – to get it “out there”? That’s mostly been a means of last resort. No dialog, no communication (or dang near none), so … blog – “out into the world”? … more like out into the void. Mostly ignored, unread, unliked. I can do “out into the void” a whole lot more easily and efficiently, by not writing or communicating at all – just communicate nothing, or stay silent, or stuff it down, or whatever – helluva lot easier – and about as effective … if not even more so. It’s not like I’m at all unused to that anyway. Been doin’ that lots of my life anyway – and may pretty much always be stuck with such. Whatever. I’m used to it – know how to do it. Not a big deal to do lots more of that. Not that it gets me anywhere, but it’s not like blogging, for all the time and effort, etc., has served me much better … if even better … and, heck, for all the time and energy and angst, quite possibly even served me worse.

Doesn’t do anyone any good. Really, quite, it doesn’t – or such would certainly seem to be the case. Damn near no one likes my writing/blogging, I quite struggle with it and find it hard and very time consuming. And quite possibly creates more problems than it’s worth. E.g. of even closest to me – come to know my blog much more than me – really kind of pointless and counter-productive after a while. Ought be conversations, not blogs. And, well, if that isn’t happening, then mostly a lot of nothing. Which, actually, mostly gets to be better than a lot of almost-entirely one-way blog “communication” – and almost nothing else – that seems to become a lot more of a rip and separation of understanding, than a growth in understanding. Seems little to no communication is better than mostly blog and nothing, or hardly anything else. Seems to lead to less mis{understanding,communication,presumption} than with bunch ‘o blog and little else. Okay, sure, maybe leaves a lot more unknown and questions / “mystery”, than a bunch of blogging, but if unknown results in more accurate understanding of what’s known, and what is and isn’t known, and how it’s characterized, etc., well … unknown can be (and is?) a lot better than increasingly misperceived, misinterpreted, and incorrectly known – and that seems to increasingly and greatly occur with a mostly one-way flow – or at least highly lopsided “flow” (“flow” – even calling it a flow seems quite a stretch) of communication. Basically there’s pretty close to no feedback loop – so things tend to run off in directions that just aren’t good, useful – or accurate representation. And it’s not like my blogging is doing anyone else any good. Heck, not even me – especially for all the time/effort/angst/inefficiencies, etc. at working at it and attempting to (and, egad, the writing, and rewriting and editing, and sometimes just friggin’ giving up on that – but in most all cases it comes out pretty piss poor anyway).

Time, energy, priorities? Yeah, very busy … and/or quite not. The blogging just isn’t working well for me or anyone else, at least as far as I can tell. So, have taken quite a break from it – and will probably mostly continue to do so. It still amazes me how anyone ever got the impression that I like to blog. Can’t say I ever have. Really never been anything more than a last ditch effort at attempted communication/expression – when all else has failed. And, well, the blogging’s quite failed too. So, … mostly I go back to a lot of nothing on the communication. And, yeah, a lot of no communication is better than bad communication, so yes, it’s an improvement … really, it is – all ’round.

And I’m sorry, but I make no apologies for (okay, can we talk oxymoronic paragraph lead-in?) saying/writing, that for me, yes, the writing is dang hard, takes a lot of time/energy/effort – sometimes many hours or more – sometimes even days or more, for what ought be relatively simple bit of writing for even just one single blog post. It’s a lot of time, it’s a lot of effort. If folks don’t want to read/hear me mentioning that – that’s fine, don’t read it – nobody (or hardly anybody) reads it anyway. No one’s forcing anyone to read this (well, except maybe me forcing myself to read it – particularly when I write it – but maybe that’s also quite a bad thing). Okay, so maybe I’ll apologize that my writing is generally cr*p, and my editing skills generally lacking and under-applied, etc. But I’m not going to apologize for having written it (at least in general – unless I quite screw up and write something I really ought not have communicated or attempted to communicate). And I’m not going to apologize for writing/communicating that it’s hard and time consuming. It is. In general, I don’t want to be apologizing for writing what’s true or fact. Okay, sure, I’ll “apologize” for the reader’s difficulty in pouring through my material. I’m sorry that it’s not a breeze to read – and that it probably never will be. But I’m not going to apologize for writing it.

So, yes, lots of reasons to take a long – possibly even indefinite – break from the blogging. In short, the blogging, not good for me, not good for anyone else, don’t like doing it – hard – difficult – time consuming – and dang near zilch positive out of it. So, was time to stop. Certainly at least take quite a break from it.

Will I blog/write more, or again? Yeah, probably some bits on occasion. At least when I might particularly feel like it and be so inclined. In the past many months, can’t say there have been many such occasions. Really only a few or so times I even felt moderately tempted to blog something. So, maybe I’ll manage to more-or-less blog those occasional few somethings. Or maybe not at all, or hardly at all. And all the other stuff I might otherwise be inclined to blog? It really just doesn’t matter now, does it? Well, not much anyway. And generally certainly not enough that it ought be blogged about. So, … many months past – only a few things in mind to possibly blog. Maybe I’ll blog them. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll only blog one of ‘em or so. Whatever. Matters not. It’s not like anyone cares, or I matter. Okay, so maybe that’s not exactly true, but not far from it.

And so it goes. Maybe some “radio silence” is good anyway. Too much noise as it is, eh?

roll with it(?), social?

2014-01-09 22:49:38 PST

“Roll with it” – thought/phrase, which for whatever reason(s), I seem be thinking more often recently, and sort’a kinda adopting that attitude, … well, maybe at least approximately, or some fair bit more, at least, … probably not “entirely”, anyway.

Roll with it? … and what of that? What is that, … or is that for me? Not sure exactly, but I kind of think “roll with the punches”, “go with it”, “go with the flow”. Sort of a mix of things, but notably try not to get phased by “it” – whatever “it” might happen to be. Just kind’a take it in, don’t worry about it too much, try to learn from it, if feasible, maybe even try and enjoy it – at least if that might also be appropriate. Maybe in some ways it’s kind’a less caring … bit more detached. Detached? From what/whom? From … everyone, everything, yes, even more detatched from myself. Sort’a kind’a “who the hell cares”, whatever kind’a attitude. So, yeah, not all good. Kind’a mixed. More present/engaged/involved, yet simultaneously more detached. I don’t know, maybe it’s a coping/defense/survival mechanism? Or at least so, in part? Be able to go through, do, engage in more – and be able to more/better survive it … by … being more detatched. Hmmmm… I don’t know, but do find myself feeling/thinking that way significantly more recently, and with, for better or worse, more of that attitude/approach. Sort of, at least in fair part, an “I just don’t care” attitude. Not that I don’t, … that’s not it, … more like I just can’t … or can’t that much or as much. And, does it make a difference, or make much or anything better or worse, or significantly so? I really don’t know. Too soon to say – a semi-recent change (roughly around the turn of the new year or so, give or take some moderate bit). Maybe it won’t make much difference. Or maybe it’ll make a lot of difference, but I won’t be able to tell. Sometimes I’m just not able to see, notice, or pick up on stuff I ought to, or that many/most people would. Whole lot of times I just don’t see it … really highly blind to it. So, … who knows. And, … who knows if this newer “attitude”/approach of mine (“roll with it”, etc.) will more-or-less stick, … or not. Maybe some weeks or even less, and I’ll have totally dropped that general attitude/thought. Who knows. Not even sure so much why it’s there … other than hypothesizing it’s bit more about coping/survival – trying to psychologically survive, notably my making more attempts to be social and socializing, more of just trying to be “okay” with social attempts quite utterly and repeatedly failing, more of just giving myself “permission” to just friggin’ not engage, and stay the heck out/away, isolate, whatever, if/when I need to – to “recover”, or whatever. All, just kind’a “roll with it”, and … try not to get too stressed or upset or drained or whatever by it, … no matter what it is, or how it goes, or fails to go, or whatever, … just roll with it.

Social. Maybe I’m just friggin’ socially retarded. Sure, quite, even plenty smart in many ways, and not an *ss about it, pretty modest and quiet about it ‘n all, but, nevertheless, social? Yeah, I highly suck at that, and, looks like I mostly very much have my entire life … only in more recent year(s) or so have I come to really quite realize and admit that to myself – I mean the objective reality makes it pretty darn clear and quite speaks for itself. Guess most of my life I’ve been in “denial”, or “pretending” that wasn’t the case, … or, probably mostly more so, rather wishing it was there and better, but not really paying enough attention, and not comparing enough objectively and critically, to really notice how markedly absent, and generally screwed up it was (and is). “Oops” – yeah, big oversight. Ugh.

Fixable? Uhm, well, first, “how bad is it”, or both more objectively and subjectively, impacted how and what do I most especially suck at socially, and, where/how does that most significantly and negatively impact me (sure, impacts others too, but I’m not really qualified to say exactly who and how much and when and where – at best maybe I could sometimes roughly hazard a guess here ‘n there). But I do know how it impacts me.

Bad how? Mostly want to engage, be connected, e.g. have good friend(s), heck, even a good relationship, but for the most part quite lack that, despite all my desire, interest, work and attempts at such. So, how (and why?) do I fail at it so, and so markedly? Yes, that’s the $64,000.00 question (okay, so having it well answered and “fixed” is probably worth a lot more than that to me). E.g. it would be really nice (friggin’ fantastic) to, say, have a really good friend, that was very much, “Sure, absolutely, you need anything, any time, day or night, just call me, don’t even think about it twice.”, and that would actually pick up the phone, or promptly return my call … I just don’t have that, not even particularly close – at least certainly not that I’m aware of and know it’s there or feel/believe it to be there. And, would want with that with someone that actually knows me and understands me rather well. Yeah, that’d be fantastic. Have had that at times, but, alas, the vast majority of my life, not, and not even close. Better yet would be friend(s) that in addition to that, I actually wanted to spend lots of time with, and they wanted to spend lots of time with me and were well able to do so, and that we quite enjoyed our time together, etc. Yeah, ain’t got that, ain’t had that the vast majority of my life. Or, better yet, really great relationship. All that plus, … yeah, uh huh, … not exactly zero luck there, but the, uh, “results” thus far, have fallen pretty darn short of that. In no particular order, closest to that? Uhm, well, had a relationship that was, or seemed, wonderful, that lasted all of six weeks. Then never was to be again like that. And no, that didn’t end due to something I did or didn’t do, but regardless, it ended, never to again be what it was. Or, … about 12 years or so – wow, even engaged! … uhm, … for over 8 years – yeah, … we never even lived in the same country, nor less than something over 1,000 miles apart. :-( Never then, nor in my life, ever made it up to cohabitating, where either moved in with the other to stay … sure, visit, stay a while, but actually move in? That never happened. And yes, long distance sucks, … majorly. Not like I “can’t” or ought not be able to meet someone quite wonderful for me much geographically closer (heck, probably approximately ten million people live within about 15 or so miles of me), but dang, finding and discovering that wonderful person and wonderful match, and them finding and discovering me … yeah, that’s been damn near impossible for me. Managed one helluva lot better with that by every and all means other than first meeting in person – yeah, I don’t do well with in-person first impressions. Get to know someone rather well, and they me, via online or phone first, and I tend to have a fighting chance. Start with in-person, and … yeah, that typically goes quite badly. So, yeah, a whole helluva lot of failure there, and not much success. It’s not like I’m looking to want to be or try to be some gregarious extrovert crowd pleaser with a few zillion friends, but geez, being able to generally have at least one really good friend, that I can actually really talk and converse with. Is that asking too much? <sigh>

So, yeah, socially retarded. Or something like that. I mean really, probably at least a good solid year now, probably a bit more, I’ve been workin’ like hell to try and do and be better on that, and, … though I’ve learned some things, for the most part I’ve made damn near zero progress – despite all my efforts, attentions, energies, studying, reading, time, $$, counseling, courses, practicing, etc. And a whole lot of it still is – or at least seems – incredibly daunting, if not outright impossible – or at least impossible for me.

I’m a really nice guy, quite that, … but initial impression? Yeah, … tends to be quite off-putting, and damned if I have any idea how I can actually usefully fix that … especially when first meeting in person, which is generally so damn critical. Most of the folks that meet me and that do get to know me sort’a kind’a rather well (like they’re stuck working with me, and I with them, so they don’t have a huge choice about it … if they did, they likely would’a walked away and never looked back). Over some time they tend to develop a relatively positive opinion of me, e.g. roughly, “(quite) nice guy, capable, skilled, reliable, dependable, always willing to help, good at it, smart, caring, honorable, highly honest, high integrity, but …”. Yeah, there’s always a “but” in there. Usually along the lines of “(damn/quite/exceedingly) quiet, odd, …” probably some other stuff too, but not really sure the details. Seem to often leave the longer-term impression, “yeah he’s alright” – sort’a the not their initial impression at all, but over time gettin’ to more-or-less kind’a know me, more-or-less like me, or at least like having me around/available. But … engage with me socially or socially engaging? Generally not – some exceptions, but … I think most of the time they think I wouldn’t want to, or they don’t want to, or I in fact don’t want to – or some combination thereof. Often times, for “social” stuff, and non-work interests, we’ve got little to nothing in common, so that can kind’a get in the way. E.g. I’m not a party animal. For most, some loud party, booze, music, dancing, blah, blah, that’s their idea of a good time. Not mine. Sure, I’ll often hang out and tolerate that anyway, but most of the time it’s take it or leave it, and, I don’t really much care either way, just not that interested, … but I typically attend and try anyway – e.g. company work parties and company social events and the like. But does it go beyond that? Most of the time not. So, yeah, they’ll find me “nice”, “good guy”, “he’s alright” … but … “odd” / “different”, and probably some other bits too – though not sure what exactly.

So, what are some of the bits I have learned and/or am learning. Eye contact. Quite important. I highly suck at it. Most notably, if I’m looking at someone when I’m speaking or trying to speak, I repeatedly and totally lose my train of thought, even mid-sentence. I come off sounding like an idiot that can’t hold a thought. It’s like my brain, seeing the slightest reaction or movement jumps all over it and goes like, “What the hell was that? It moved! That’s interesting, what does it mean? Hmmm, damn, examined all the database entries on that, and … no friggin’ clue what that means, … or that they just did too, what was that?” And, yeah, fraction of a second to a second or two of that, and then I’m attempting to continue to say what I was saying, or say what I was about to say – and I’ve got absolutely no idea whatsoever what I was saying or about to say and I just stop dead, … over, and over, and over. Doesn’t go over well with folks, … at all. Or, … I just do not look at ‘em at all when I’m talking or trying to talk. Then I can actually generally talk fairly coherently, and at least continue to think of and talk about most of what I was trying to say – might miss or forget some bits or whatever, but generally at least manage to say most of the key points I had in mind to say. But then I’m not looking at them at all when talking to them – or kind’a similar, looking through them, and not “at” them at all (like when talking in front of a fair sized to large group) – that also works about equally poorly. Notably the not looking at them (or staring through them) – well, good eye contact – right kind and nature of it, not too much, not too little, well, turns out that’s friggin’ important, and majorly impacts people’s impressions. So, the not looking, or especially not looking when talking or about to talk, that tends to generally leave an impression of shifty or dishonest. So, tends not to leave a good impression. And the forgetting what I was saying or trying to say all the time, tends to leave impression of an incoherent idiot. So, … at least I’ve learned that. How to surmount it, or even if I ever can, I’ve no idea. I don’t know, … practice lots more? Maybe try playing off those extremes, – somewhere between impression of idot that can’t coherently talk, or impression of shifty/dishonest, … maybe there’s an optimal (at least optimal for me and what I can do) middle ground, … the semi-idiot semi-shifty/semi-dishonest impression? I dunno. But probably at least ought to try lots more there, see what I can manage to do with it. And, another thing I’m learning – and probably very important with the eye contact when I’m talking or trying to talk, is being able to “read” their reactions, e.g. know what their various expressions and eye movements mean, so I can use that feedback to appropriately adjust what I’m saying, and how, and even if I ought be continuing talking or talking about some particular something, or say it differently or (de)emphasize particular point(s), or wrap it up, or not even talk further about it at all. So, … yeah, … that’s very important, according to what I gather from what I read, various feedback and expertise, and, … yeah, … will I ever be able to do that and do that well? Wish I very much could. No clue if I’ll ever get there. Much of what I’m reading and studying now indicates that’s best learned as a child growing up. Most learn it intuitively, and never have to be “taught” it – at least explicitly. But some need help on that. I pro’lly could’a used a lot of help on that, but never got it – maybe no one never noticed, or noticed “enough”, to pick up on it. E.g. I did “well enough” (and then some, lots of straight As, top of class, all that goop) academically, that maybe no one quite figured out I was (and am) severely socially retarded. Even to this day, can’t say that’s changed much. E.g. work/career-wise, dang near top of my field, do what I do for work very darn well (quite/very/exceedingly technical stuff, and I’m damn friggin’ good at it), but … socially, and office politics ‘n goop like that at work? Yeah, that significantly holds me back – in a lot of ways. One friend, some years back, well knowing both my technical capabilities and smarts, was (and as far as I know still is) of the opinion that I ought be earning about thrice what I do, because I’m “that good”. But, uhm, yeah, socially, climbing that career ladder, “networking” (as in people) … yeah, I quite suck at that … socially retarded.

So, what else have I learned? Speak up. Yeah, often I speak too quietly – (nearly) mumble. Should generally try and avoid that and speak up and more clearly. But too, that can sometimes be hard, in multiple ways. First of all, I speak so damn little, I don’t have all that much of a voice. Can’t talk that loud for very long. If I do, my voice goes horse quite easily, and then I’m that much more screwed. But, I should pay careful attention for the clues/feedback, that I need to speak up. E.g. that leaning in, sometimes tilting of head(s) or whatever, can often be an indicator that I need to talk louder. Or it could be an indicator they’re interested in what I’m saying, or maybe both. I really don’t know how to tell the difference. And, yeah, eye contact – harder to notice that when I’m not making eye contact or anything close to that.

What else have I learned? Seems a whole lot of the feedback in my communication attempts is generally fundamentally, and often very severely, broken. Often I say far far far too little – whole helluva damn lot of the time I say nothing at all. Really don’t know when folks want to hear from me. Conversely, I’m not good at knowing when to shut the f*ck up – when folks just aren’t interested, don’t want to hear it, or that much, or don’t want to hear further on it – when I’m “turning them off”. And, of course, to further complicate that and make it even harder, some folks “play nice” / “play polite” and act like they’re interested, even explicitly say so, when they really don’t want to hear another friggin’ word out of my mouth. In any case, I generally completely and totally miss that, or only pick up on it when it’s far far far too late. “Subtle” just tends to not work on me. And I tend to mostly believe what people say – unless I know of strongly contradicting reliable evidence – and yeah, I typically won’t pick that up from a facial expression or body language … certainly at least not consciously, though sometimes a bit of it seeps in subconsciously (sort’a the vague “something doesn’t seem to be fitting together consistently here” kind’a feeling … but almost always without knowing what it is that doesn’t fit or is inconsistent or contra-indicated – just vague feeling that there’s something there that doesn’t well fit what’s otherwise indicated or being said). So, yeah. I mean if someone jumps up excitedly and hugs and kisses me, I figure they rather like what I said. If they strike me in the face with a full force blow of their fist, or turn around, stomp out, and loudly slam the door behind them, I figure they didn’t like what I said. But for the most part, more subtle reactions between such extremes, I mostly just don’t pick up on that. Okay, maybe doesn’t have to be quite that damn extreme for me to pick up on it, but … nearly so. Subtle in words, tone, inflection, eye movements, expression, body language – for the most part I just won’t pick it up or know what it means – or certainly very highly miss out on that when I’m talking or trying to talk.

What else have I learned? More stuff in the communication feedback. Thus far I find it mostly just an exceedingly confounding and confusing mess. For the most part, really don’t know how to make heads or tails out of it. Talk/write less, talk/communicate more – I really don’t know how much of what to do when … at all, at least for the most part. Some of it’s (roughly) like, e.g. blog, don’t write nearly so much … ever. I really don’t know what to make of that. Some write blogs, and articles that are helluva lot longer than what I write, … and even immensely more popular. Some of the feedback I get is don’t write more than the other person writes you. Uhm, but geez, then why would anyone ever read a paper, an article – even a long article, a newspaper column, heaven forbid a book or ebook. Yet people read those things. I don’t see lots ‘o folks running around saying those things ought never be written, or written that long. So, yeah, I’m mostly still thoroughly confused on all that. Reciprocity. I sort’a kind’a get it, but at the same time absolutely highly do not. E.g. really really be there for the other person, as much and in any and all ways I possibly can, and, … they like and appreciate that, and … I think – know even – they’re quite nice person … might expect or hope for some fair bit of similar in return? Sure, I’d at least hope for that, but … why it doesn’t happen? Or maybe it’s there and I can’t see/feel/realize it’s there. I really don’t know – I could hazard lots and lots of guesses, but I don’t know enough to know why – all I can do is guess. I’m very interested in someone, want to hear all about them, highly interested in them. Reciprocity – does that mean they’re at all interested in hearing about me, or even all that much? … even if they actually quite like me? No, it doesn’t. Not necessarily anything of the sort. If only life as a human was so simple.

What else have I learned. Well, there’s golden rule “do unto others, as you would have others do unto you”. But I guess long long time ago, I learned that rule rather sucks. Much better one, is what I call platinum rule: “do unto others, as they wanna be done unto”. Uhm, well, but what I’ve learned more recently, a lot of my presumptions about what others more-or-less want, may be … uhm, well beyond significantly flawed. Like, totally jacked up, screwed up, messed up, and often just way friggin’ wrong and incorrect. Uhm, how so? Ah, silly (stupid, socially retarded) me, for not understanding others that well (heck, damn near hardly knowning anyone on the planet all that well besides myself), uhm, yeah, for lack of better model to be applied, I’d presume they were more-or-less roughly like me, and would more-or-less tend to want roughly similar to what I wanted, would want to be treated as I’d want to be treated, would generally like and dislike things, ideas, concepts, feelings, etc., etc., more-or-less roughly similar to me. Uh, yeah, totally bogus cr*p bollocks assumption/presumption/model/guestimation. For the most part, I’ve no friggin’ clue what anybody else wants, how anybody else thinks, feels, what is/isn’t of interest or important to them, etc., etc., etc. I’m socially retarded, remember? I ain’t figured that out. And, to thoroughly complicate matters, I’m a freak, a friggin’ oddball. I don’t fit in, never have, probably never will. So, yeah, me trying to use me as a model or approximation for other Homo sapiens on the planet – probably a bad idea and pretty damn friggin’ f*cked up inappropriate, inaccurate, and often dead wrong, attempt at modeling.

So, mostly I’ve learned that I don’t know sh*t about sh*t. And I may never know. Okay, aside from some technical cr*p – whatever. So I can earn a living. But, connection, friend(s), relationship(s), relatively happy and fulfilling social life? Yeah, … I’m probably totally screwed on that (figuratively, not literally), and maybe that will always be the case. “Oh well.” I dunno. Try and learn, figure out what I can, try and learn/fix as feasible, and, well, … whatever, … “roll with it”.

And, yeah, probably a whole lot more I ought cover to better round out this general topic, and relevant background, and relevant significant pieces, etc., but this posting is probably far too long already (and yeah, I’ve gotten feedback on that – no shortage of it) … so, … I guess this is a compromise between an exceedingly short posting of only something like: “I’m socially retarded. Damn. Oh well, what the hell, (I’ll) ‘roll with it’.” – which wouldn’t really explain much of anything – let alone itself, and … a posting yet longer than this … likely 30 to 150% longer yet, so, … a compromise, … I cut this one off, … at least for now … well, almost ;-) …

Maybe I ought get a T-shirt printed up:
“Really nice guy, smart, capable, but socially retarded. And you?”


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