JULY 3, 2009 6:18PM

Most of the People You Encounter in Real Life Are Strangers

Rate: 16 Flag
A Flood


Michael: (performing)

     OS, again?

     You love OS, Mikey.

     (babbling) Glooflen. glueflen gloo . . .

     (A) What’s that?

Melissa: (A) That was from the other night. Another fragment.

Michael: (A) We’re gonna need something like a Fragment Friday.

Melissa: (A) Do you think this could work for it? Although it almost kind of hangs together as a piece unto itself.

Michael: (A) No, it’s a piece unto itself.

Melissa: (A) Right. Now, did you actually get a chance to finish saying what you were saying about the Asperger’s experience?

Michael: (A) Whaddyou mean?

Melissa: (A) You know, before I interrupted by pasting in the earlier conversation about grocery clerks.

Michael: (A) But this starts with “Glooflen”, which I don’t even know what that is. Not about Asperger’s.

Melissa: (A) I know, I was referring to what you say later, which is actually earlier, once again. The “Glooflen” is something you were just singing, or performing to yourself the other night, and I recorded it without you knowing.

Michael: (A) Well, then shouldn’t it say “(singing)” or “(performing)”?

Melissa: (A) Yeah, except it was sort of that in-between talk. Not really singing, not really performing. You know, talking mindlessly to yourself. Like playing. Maybe we need a different term for that.

Michael: (A) Babbling?

Melissa: (A) (laughs)

     (A) Yeah!

(later)

Melissa: Why don’t you have an orange?

Michael: I don’t want an orange. Oranges are acidic, and right now, my tummy feels nice from eating the candy.

(later)

Michael: It’s hard being almost.

     Almost good enough to play pro ball.

     Almost good enough to get into college.

     Almost good enough to win the recital.

     Almost good enough.

     Almost.

     I’m talking about second place. Also ran. That kind of thing. Almost.

     ’Cuz I was thinking, it must be hard to be special, but almost normal. So that you’re really only almost special. Not really accepted in either group.

     And I think that you and I even responded to a person like this. It was at that art thing and she was being, you know, this was her big day, and she was acting like a big shot, which of course for us is a turnoff, a putoff, and so I got away from her quickly.

Melissa: (E) I know, I was sort of cringing because she was just calling so much attention to herself. Her bright red dress, talking so loudly about her work. It just made me sad. I felt like she was trying to be someone she wasn’t, when who she was really was actually so much more interesting.

Michael: Thing is, she’s a special person. It’s just, she’s so close to being normal, almost normal, and I use the word “normal” with no comfort whatsoever. That she didn’t have those disarming qualities someone who’s fully special would have.

Melissa: Like Will. I mean, Dan!

Michael: Well, understand, that for me, because Dan is so outgoing and popular, I actually don’t like him. Do you understand that? I mean, he’s like a normal, outgoing guy—

Melissa: Oh, come on!

Michael: Melissa, he is. There’s just the same type of people in Special People Land as there are in Regular People Land. You know, there’s the shy ones, the outgoing ones, the smart ones, and the stupid ones. And by stupid, I don’t mean they’re mentally incompetent. I mean, they do stupid things. Y’know . . .

     So, I think it’s harder if you’re almost something.

Melissa: Well, I think that’s the dilemma that people with AS face. Like you.

Michael: Yes. I suppose in a way, I’ve always been jealous of special people—how they were all so automatifcally accepted and loved.

Melissa: Right, your disability isn’t evident on the surface. So people sense there’s a little something off when they try to interact with you, but they don’t know why, so they become uncomfortable.

Michael: You know what’s weird?

Melissa: What?

Michael: I’ve had to live through that so much, I think I kind of actually like making people uncomfortable now. I know that’s terrible, but I also feel like it’s a little bit of that uncomfort that some people get around special people. They aren’t really around special people, so they don’t know how to act, and they’re afraid they’re gonna jump up and drool on them or something. You know, they don’t know, they’re ignorant. And so in the same way that being around special people would help them get used to being around special people, I’m hoping that being around someone like me, they’d get used to being around someone like me.

Melissa: (B) This is actually where I was going to talk about why I think you and special people make neurotypicals uncomfortable.

Michael: (B) Well, the thing is, I think it’s for two totally different reasons. Mostly, with a special person, there’s some physical clue to their specialness. And for me, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with me, but there’s something not right with me. I don’t look you in the eye. I don’t seem to be interested in things that people would typically be interested in. I seem to be very uncomfortable.

Melissa: (B) Only when you’re out there. Not when you’re here, when you’re not feeling judged by the outside world.

Michael: (B) Why did you say “judged”?

Melissa: (B) Because that’s what makes you uncomfortable.

Michael: (B) That’s paranoia. Not Asperger’s.

Melissa: (B) Ah, but don’t you think they’re related? For one thing, I think having AS makes you more of a social target. Not that anyone targets you. But you think they do, because you know you don’t think like them. And you think they know it, too. And that gets back to what I was saying earlier about what it is about you and special people that makes neurotyps uncomfortable. That thing is the truth. I mean, you don’t do small talk. You operate at a deeper, more conscious level than most people care to—and you do it all of the time. So if they were actually to engage in conversation with you—if you were, this is obviously hypothetical—

Michael: (B) Yes, when you said that, I became a little bit terrified.

Melissa: (B) Haha. So anyway, I think people don’t like to be made too aware of reality, of truthfulness. They want to inhabit their mental media asylum. It’s like all of these people have agreed to participate in this collective insanity just so we can get through day-to-day life.

Michael: (B) It’s interesting because when you were saying that, I saw an individual that from the moment they got up with the television on in the background—

Melissa: (B) Mm-hmm.

Michael: (B) To when they’re driving in the car, listening to the radio, that kind of thing.

Melissa: (B) Mm-hmm.

Michael: (B) Getting to the store and racks of magazines behind them, it’s just a constant bombardment against us of this artificial life that we’re given to care about when in fact it has NOTHING to do with our own lives whatsoever. In fact, I think it serves to make us just unhappy enough with our own lives to keep buying more things in the effort to achieve that nirvana of happiness that always comes from buying something that time and time again we have learned actually doesn’t make us happy.

Melissa: (B) Exactly! This corporate comatose state of mind everybody walks around in. I think we’re much more conscious of how odd that is because we’ve been out of the television uh-

Michael: (B) Loop?

Melissa: (B) That’s exactly the word I was about to use, but it didn’t seem foul enough. Because it really does feel poisonous, like mental pollution, and it wasn’t until we were away from it for several years that we realized how toxic it was.

Michael: (B) That makes me think of They Live, where the brainwashing made you feel sick.

Melissa: (B) I was just about to bring that up! Not the getting-sick part. Just the movie. People need those sunglasses.

Michael: (B) Haha. Yeah.

Melissa: (B) But the other part about that that I was going to say is how unbelievably caricaturesque and grotesque television news seemed when we dipped into it for a few minutes. There was that one day when we watched a few minutes of all these different news stations, and it was one constant WTF after another. To think this actually passed as news, even on something supossedly respectable like CNN, was truly ridiculous. And yet, it did, and it does, and you have to wonder, where the hell are all the critical thinkers out there? Doesn’t anyone see this is madness, “mass madness”?

Michael: (B) Yes, there are people who see the madness. People like Naomi Klein. Glenn Greenwald. But they’re a part of this whole giant entertain-us-all-to-death system, so nothing really ever changes.

Melissa: (B) I don’t think that’s true. I think a lot more people are aware than they used to be. And that means corporations can’t get away with quite as much shite as they used to. Although they do, they just make sure we can’t see as much. They just pull the curtain around themselves a little bit tighter and paint sunny faces on the curtain to distract us.

Michael: (B) Look at the pretty curtain! Look at the pretty curtain, and those faces make me so happy! I’m gonna go buy something.

Melissa: (B) Hahaha.

     Who is ever around you except me?

Michael: Well, when I used to go and get my soda after dropping you off in the morning, I would have to talk to the checker.

Melissa: Oh, this reminds me of an excerpt from an earlier unfinished post.

(weeks earlier)

Michael: You know, it’s interesting because I wouldn’t really express myself this way around other people, so this is kind of—hmm. Unnatural for me.

     You know what might be interesting?

Melissa: What?

Michael: If in this post, I responded more like if our reader was right here. So they could see the difference. Get ready to hear from me, maybe about two or three times, tops. And even then, I would mumble it.

Melissa: Right, but you would never talk that way with me, so maybe I should pretend to be one of the few people you actually encounter in person.

     Like a grocery store clerk.

Michael: Well, I don’t say anything. I mean, I say, “Hi.” I always wanna be polite. I say “Hi,” or “Hello,” or “How are you doing?” And occasionally, “What’s goin’ on?”

Melissa: When have you ever used that phrase?

Michael: Well, I did say “occasionally”. Maybe I should’ve said “rarely”.

Melissa: Rarely as in never.

Michael: Maybe I did when I was a kid, who knows?

     Now, see, we’re not doing my idea. I wasn’t supposed to be sitting here just speaking as I normally do.

     Okay, maybe it doesn’t have to be the whole post. But just like a little part here in the middle. And you’re right, I think I see what you’re saying. It doesn’t make any sense. So you’re saying that it’s like, instead of me talking to you, I’m talking to somebody else? Is that what you’re saying?

Melissa: I was just saying that in order for our reader to get an idea of how you interact with people in person, we would have to simulate a scenario in which that might occur. And since it happens rather rarely—oops, I guess I shouldn’t use “rarely” again, so soon anyway. Then it’s not very rare, is it.

Michael: (C) (performs) There’s that line again. That line! That crappy line! It doesn’t like me. It’s a bad line.

Melissa: (C) Haha. I know. It bothered me when I was reading it this time, too.

Michael: (C) Okay, well, writing this means you have to keep it now.

Melissa: (C) I know that, too.

Michael: The way I originally imagined it, though, was that our reader was visiting. Say they’re sitting in the red chair, and we’re just writing. So, for instance, so I know that they’re there, but I would act more like the way that I would really act if someone I had just met was sitting there. Now, over time, we will get to know our reader—

Melissa: I think we already do to a point that would render this experiment you’re suggesting moot.

Michael: What do you mean?

Melissa: Basically, our reader is already a friend, whereas most of the people you encounter in real life are strangers. Or at least familiar strangers.

Michael: Well-put.

     The most interesting thing about our reader so far is they go by different names—

Melissa: You can’t say “they”.

Michael: (A’) Yes, but now we ruined the joke about one reader having multiple personalities.

     I can’t say “he” or “she” either.

     “The one”? Help me. I bet I can’t say this either.

Melissa: The problem lies in the English language. It doesn’t allow for a neutral gender when using a singular third-person pronoun.

Michael: Have people tried to make one up?

Melissa: Yes, actually, that’s what I was just about to say. I know one person who uses “zie” instead of “he” or “she”—I’m just not sure what zie uses for “him” or “her.” Hmm . . .

Michael: What about “e” and “imer”?

Melissa: You mean “e” for “she”/“he” and “imer” for “her”/“him”?

Michael: Yes. Like, “What is e doing over there?” or “I told that stupid imer in the front of the line to . . .”

Melissa: Okay, first off, you aren’t even using “imer” correctly. You wouldn’t say, “I told that stupid him”—

Michael: (laughs)

     Okay, bad example. How about, “Well imer was all over the road . . .”

Melissa: That’s “he”! Or “she”!

Michael: Oh! We’re not gonna show this level of stupidity, are we?

Melissa: It’s not stupidity. It’s AS.

Michael: Hmm. One last try. “I spoke with imer’s attorneys . . .”

Melissa: That would be “his” or “her”!

Michael: Isn’t that what I’m trying to figure out? What the feck?!

Melissa: No, we were talking about “him” and “her.” We actually still need to come up with a neutral pronoun for “his” or “her.”

Michael: (exhales)

     This is beginning to make my head hurt . . . maybe we should veer the metaship in a different direction.

Melissa: (D) Love, you’re eating more candybar!

Michael: (D) Well, right now, I’m just trimming the wrapper, but maybe I should eat some more candybar. Since you seem to have this morbid interest in (mumbles) . . .

Melissa: (D) “Since I seem to have this morbid interest in” what?

Michael: (D) “my candybar-eating.”

Melissa: (D) Haha.

Michael: My brain’s like a linked list. Break one of those links, and the rest is lost.



L  E  G  E  N  D
letters = sequential meta conversations
                   (C occurred after B, B after A, etc.)
numbers = mini-meta tangents within meta conversations
quoted letters = prior meta conversations









































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Comments

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Reading this was like performing in a wrestling match while looking out at the crowd with real cool shades only to see the cheers as boos. Melissa and Mike, sometimes I just can't take it anymore. Perhaps salvation comes when Larry talks to Sarah while Bill goes round in circles. Happy 4th. Oregon is not gone! rAted!
I want to come back to this . . . you guys hit on some salient points that I want to think about . . . :~)
@Mr. Mustard:

Wait, are you booing at us, Mr. Mustard? This makes us mad as hell.

Ah yes, the LSB Trinity. Lucifer, Satan, and Beelzebub.

Happy 4th to you, and many other days, as well.

Glad to hear Oregon’s still here. When we opened the front door this morning and nothing was there, we got worried.

@Owl_Says_Who:

Take your time, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts!

( m&m )
loved reading. thank you. rated.
Very interesting and cool analysis.
Oh no! You're right. Naomi Klein and Glenn Greenwald are helping entertain us to death, just like everyone else. They feed us anxiousness and anger. But we like it. :-S

That's not the main thing I take away from this post, though - all that stuff about neurotypicals and almost-specials - aren't we all...both? We're all just a part of each other's realities. It's one big dream dreamed up by everyone. No one thinks, I don't think, that they're a real big shot. I bet even the loud red-dress lady is just loud and red-dressed because she's worried she's a not-shot. Like we all are after the age of 3. Little kids are the only real big shots, I think.

And I vote for the adoption of "e" and "imer" by the English-speaking world at large. Yay! to this brilliant idea and you two's post in general. :) I think one day I will slice up one of your posts and copy-paste in actual order, using the helpful legend at the end as a guide. Just to compare uncontained thought-time and real time. (Trying to do this without copy-paste would be too spiderwebby!)
"I think people don’t like to be made too aware of reality, of truthfulness. They want to inhabit their mental media asylum. It’s like all of these people have agreed to participate in this collective insanity just so we can get through day-to-day life."

I so get this feeling sometimes. It reminds me somewhat of The Catcher in the Rye, where he is always noticing phonies (though he's not perfect himself). Yet, when you get older, you still see it, but in a different way.
About AS--once my cousin sent us all a link to a questionnaire that wasn't a formal test, but there was some sort of research that said that the average person with AS scored a 35 on it. I scored a 34. It may be crap, but here it is:
http://www.msnbc.com/modules/newsweek/autism_quotient/default.asp
Here is a working link to that autism quotient thing. For no real reason, I provide...:)
http://www.glennrowe.net/BaronCohen/AutismSpectrumQuotient/AutismSpectrumQuotient.aspx
our reader is already a friend, whereas most of the people you encounter in real life are strangers. Or at least familiar strangers.

This is such an interesting take on how OS is different from the encounters we have in 'real life'.
Once again just pure poetry. This one I related to on so many levels and I was going to copy the sequences but I realized that I would be copying most of the post. Just an amazing ride. So much information and knowledge and wise goofing. Thank You
I love this: "I use the word “normal” with no comfort whatsoever." I feel the same way - I generally avoid that word whenever possible - I just love the way you said that sentence.

"This corporate comatose state of mind everybody walks around in." Have you guys seen the movie "Waking Life" - totally about this.

And the neutral pronoun - I think micalpeace wrote about this recently. I know I read it somewhere . . .
yes, would come back to re-read.

Melissa, Rolling is better, and she thanks you (she thinks with her heart so she didnt say 'from the heart', cuz everything is from there, for her anyway)
You are so right that this grammatical gender nonsense in Earthliguish is a bitch.

If I were to choose again where to land on this pretty planet, this tiny thing alone would make me seriously consider any of the countries that speak one of the Finno-Ugric languages that use one pronoun for both he and she: "hän" in Finnish, "tema" in Estonian and "ő" in Hungarian (this last one is nearly the same as your proposed "e").

But then I would really miss the "Wow!" and the "Uh-oh!" :-)
good take on special people land. i? i bypassed it. they wanted me to become involved , but i had better things to do,
like total implosion of the soul,
stuff like that.
special people make good symbolism.
they dont know thats all they are there for...
our entertainment...


latest hobby=making englishmore
reflective of eternal verities...
jim
@AnnMarie & Dorinda:

We’re always delighted to welcome newcomers to metaland. Thank you for your nice comments, and we’re looking forward to getting to know your work, as well!

( m&m )
@keenoctopus:

keenoctopus: Oh no! You're right. Naomi Klein and Glenn Greenwald are helping entertain us to death, just like everyone else. They feed us anxiousness and anger. But we like it. :-S

Melissa: Yes, we do like Glenn and Naomi, and the other Naomi, too. They’re absolutely essential voices, and I’m grateful they have a presence in the media, even if it is a circus.

Michael: There is no other circus in town. Except for this one ;-)

keenoctopus: That's not the main thing I take away from this post, though - all that stuff about neurotypicals and almost-specials - aren't we all...both?

Michael: Yes, there is no such thing as “normal.” Just as we contain both male and female qualities to varying degrees, I think we also have special/typical qualities like that.

Melissa: Yeah, I think I have more special characteristics when I’m in my creative inner world, whereas I’m able to slide into neurotypical mode in a social context.

keenoctopus: We're all just a part of each other's realities. It's one big dream dreamed up by everyone.

Melissa: It kind of feels that way at OS—we overhear each other’s thoughts, conversations, hopes, and fears. It starts feeling like a collective consciousness (or quasi-consciousness?) because of our overlapping perceptions and shared knowledge, which are constantly evolving at different rates for each participant.

keenoctopus: No one thinks, I don't think, that they're a real big shot.

Michael: The only people I’ve noticed who think they’re big shots are people who seem to be totally clueless about themselves.

Melissa: Haha.

keenoctopus: I bet even the loud red-dress lady is just loud and red-dressed because she's worried she's a not-shot.

Melissa: Yes, and that’s I think why it made me so sad. Because I didn’t want her to even care about whether she’s a big or a not-shot. I just wanted her to take pride in being who she was, instead of trying to be someone she thought others wanted her to be.

Michael: That’s the thing, love. I’ve been caught in this myself, because you witness how others behave in these situations, and you use someone as a model, but maybe the one you choose can only get away with their behavior because of their extreme charm or dazzling looks. I don’t know. I felt, even though I had to get away from her, I knew that I myself have been there, and I felt bad for her, especially when I started noticing that not many people were going and looking at her work.

Melissa: I know, that’s what I was saying, that I felt bad for her. Badly, rather.

keenoctopus: Like we all are after the age of 3. Little kids are the only real big shots, I think.

Michael: I love this. This is so true. Only children can get away with that self-aggrandizement and still seem completely innocent about it.

Melissa: I don’t know if it’s even aggrandizement. Maybe they just have a healthier self-image because it hasn’t been beaten or propagandized out of them yet.

Michael: Right, but I was thinking more along the lines of something like, “I am the master of the entire universe! And I will destroy the Dark King.” That kind of self-aggrandizement.

Melissa: Ooh. That’s called playing. Pretending. That’s something else adults aren’t very good at.

Michael: Maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s the secret. Adults aren’t playing when they’re aggrandizing themselves.

keenoctopus: And I vote for the adoption of "e" and "imer" by the English-speaking world at large.

Melissa: We actually came up with the “his/her” version, as well: “iser.”

keenoctopus: Yay! to this brilliant idea and you two's post in general. :)

m&m: Thank you and thank you :-)

keenoctopus: I think one day I will slice up one of your posts and copy-paste in actual order, using the helpful legend at the end as a guide.

Michael: I was thinking I could write a script to do that. Hmm.

keenoctopus: Just to compare uncontained thought-time and real time. (Trying to do this without copy-paste would be too spiderwebby!)

Melissa: Yes, that would be helpful. I sometimes try to do that when proofreading, but it does get a bit confusing jumping from meta to meta.

Michael: Bye now!
@Delia:

Delia: “I think people don’t like to be made too aware of reality, of truthfulness. They want to inhabit their mental media asylum. It’s like all of these people have agreed to participate in this collective insanity just so we can get through day-to-day life.” I so get this feeling sometimes.

Melissa: I think people who are grieving are especially sensitive to this. It reminds me of that scene in—

Michael: Accidental Tourist? No.

Melissa: I was going to say My Dinner with Andre.

Michael: Ooh.

Melissa: When Andre’s talking about how his mother just died, and he goes to this dinner, and everyone’s laughing and joking as if this horrible loss hadn’t just occurred. And they wanted to pretend it didn’t, but he couldn’t, and he found it savage, or inhumane to pretend otherwise.

Michael: Right. The part I thought you were talking about is when Macon is explaining to Muriel how he finds people “trivial and foolish,” and “unrelated” to him after he tells her about losing his son.

Melissa: Oh yeah, I hadn’t thought of that connection.

Delia: It reminds me somewhat of The Catcher in the Rye, where he is always noticing phonies (though he's not perfect himself).

Melissa: Yes, great comparison. Which makes me think of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, where Martin Balsam’s character describes Holly Golightly as “a phony, but a real phony.”

Delia: Yet, when you get older, you still see it, but in a different way.

Michael: Do you mean with more compassion and understanding?

Melissa: That’s what I was thinking. Less narcissistic, more forgiving. Wisdom.

Delia: About AS--once my cousin sent us all a link to a questionnaire that wasn't a formal test, but there was some sort of research that said that the average person with AS scored a 35 on it. I scored a 34. It may be crap, but here it is:

Michael: We took it, too, and I scored a 37.

Melissa: I scored a 23, but I could’ve sworn I took this test—or one a lot like it—a while back and was borderline. Hmm . . .
@Nora:

Nora: “our reader is already a friend, whereas most of the people you encounter in real life are strangers. Or at least familiar strangers.” This is such an interesting take on how OS is different from the encounters we have in ‘real life’.

Melissa: Yes, I was talking with one of my “real-life” friends about this the other day. I was trying to figure out how it is possible that we’ve made such profound friendships in such a short period of time at OS. And I was telling her I think it’s because you don’t have all the external social chitchat-type distractions of real life getting in the way. People are just here writing from their hearts, and you get to know each other so much more deeply, at a rather fast pace. And you also tend to find kindred spirits more quickly. Maybe that’s partly because it’s such a small community of creatives, so there’s a higher percentage of people like us here than we tend to encounter in real life.

Michael: Yes. Thanks for stopping by again, Nora!


@micalpeace:

micalpeace: Once again just pure poetry.

Michael: You always write such meaningful comments, micalpeace.

micalpeace: This one I related to on so many levels and I was going to copy the sequences but I realized that I would be copying most of the post.

Melissa: Hahaha.

micalpeace: Just an amazing ride. So much information and knowledge and wise goofing.

Melissa: “wise goofing”—What a great phrase!

micalpeace: Thank You

m&m: Thank you, Mike, for being here. We are all richer for your writing.
"There’s just the same type of people in Special People Land as there are in Regular People Land. You know, there’s the shy ones, the outgoing ones, the smart ones, and the stupid ones"
oh isn't that the truth. It's the same with any larger group. Group of people with depression, with cancer, with diabetes. The overall illness (or behavior set) is the same, but so many different little quirks it's frustrating (and intriguing) to sort out- both to see the differences, and the similarities.
I scored a 27. I thought it would be higher, but think my issues must be more introvert/ocd than asperger’s. I've learned to be more more socially adept in work situations (I do have 37 years of 'being female' with all that's required (heavy social studying, face reading, body reading) under my belt), but still flounder a bit if it's not required of me to make the effort...and it's always an effort to kickstart the waterwheel. Once it's going, it feels wonderful and I love everyone, but much straining goes into the initial effort.
I just downloaded Animals in Translation & Animals Make Us Human from Audible earlier today. I've read one of them before, but don't remember which. Different points of view are so valuable. I hope our society (more specifically myself) keeps focused on that. Different is good, difficult is good, scary/stress to a certain point is good...well, until it's not.
@Owl_Says_Who:

Owl_Says_Who: I love this: "I use the word “normal” with no comfort whatsoever." I feel the same way - I generally avoid that word whenever possible - I just love the way you said that sentence.

Michael: I was cringing every time I used it. That’s why I felt like I needed to say something. And now I’m glad I did. Thank you!

Owl_Says_Who: "This corporate comatose state of mind everybody walks around in." Have you guys seen the movie "Waking Life" - totally about this.

Melissa: We’ve only seen pieces of it, and a long time ago at that.

Owl_Says_Who: And the neutral pronoun - I think micalpeace wrote about this recently. I know I read it somewhere . . .

Melissa: Yes! It’s “Excuse me, I think you dropped your ego,” and you are absolutely right. We mentioned in our comment there post that we’d recently had a conversation about that very topic but hadn’t posted it yet—that was the fragment we ended up incorporating into this post.


@Rolling:

Rolling: yes, would come back to re-read.

Melissa: Delighted to see you, Rolling!

Rolling: Melissa, Rolling is better, and she thanks you (she thinks with her heart so she didnt say 'from the heart', cuz everything is from there, for her anyway)

Melissa: This is wonderful news. Thank you so much for letting us know. You’ve been much in our thoughts—and hearts.

Michael: Yes, Rolling. Thank you for stopping by. Happy to know you’re feeling better.
@GalaxyMan:

GalaxyMan: You are so right that this grammatical gender nonsense in Earthliguish is a bitch.

Melissa: “Earthlinguish”! Another great phrase.

GalaxyMan: If I were to choose again where to land on this pretty planet, this tiny thing alone would make me seriously consider any of the countries that speak one of the Finno-Ugric languages that use one pronoun for both he and she: "hän" in Finnish, "tema" in Estonian and "ő" in Hungarian (this last one is nearly the same as your proposed "e").

Michael: That’s fascinating. I wonder how “ő” is pronounced.

Melissa: Yeah, we could always start borrowing a set of pronouns from another language. Foreign words get grafted into the English language all of the time.

Michael: What’re you talking about?! What about “e,” “imer”, and “iser”? There’s perfectly solid reasoning behind those.

Melissa: Yeah, I know. The only thing that bothers me slightly is the male part comes first in the latter two—it could also be “erim” or “eris”.

Michael: I suppose. I don’t really believe in putting the male over the female, either. But even saying “her” and “him”, in that order, sounds a little weird. As though ingrained in our brains since childhood has always been the male before the female, the male before the female.

Melissa: It’s not “as though”—it is. So it feels awkward to break that pattern. Maybe they could be interchangeable. People could use either form!

Michael: “erim”/“eris”, “imer”/“iser”?

Melissa: Yes, but maybe that would be just one more ambiguity of the English language that would cause confusion. Help.

Michael: Is there any other word in the English language that you can make a choice like that with?

Melissa: Well, the closest I can think of is using gender-specific terms for the same role—like “actor” and “actress”, “waiter” and “waitress”, etc. But that has fallen into disfavor because it reinforces the difference in gender, implying that the male does that same job differently than a female would, and so forth.

Michael: Right. I can still remember when that was first happening. It made a lot of sense to me because women were saying, “Why should I be called something different just because I’m a woman. I’m an actor just like he is, so why should I be called an ‘actress’?” But of course, they went with the male version.

Melissa: Good point. Could you imagine men having a strong enough self-image to go with the female term if it was made universal? Some guy saying, “I’m your hostess today,” or “I’m a poetess.”

Michael: Well, gay men have been using the feminine to describe themselves for a long time, so I guess they have a strong enough self-image.

Melissa: Yes, well, they don’t go around fearing their feminine side like most of the “guys” in this society do.

GalaxyMan: But then I would really miss the "Wow!" and the "Uh-oh!" :-)

Michael: Don’t forget “Oops!” and “Whee!”


@Jim:

Jim: good take on special people land. i? i bypassed it. they wanted me to become involved , but i had better things to do, like total implosion of the soul, stuff like that.

Michael: That’s too bad. Working with special people can be good for the soul.

Melissa: Good point. I can’t think of many people who are more inspiring.

Jim: special people make good symbolism. they dont know thats all they are there for... our entertainment...

Melissa: We hope you’re joking, Jim, because otherwise, that would be really offensive!

Jim: latest hobby=making englishmore reflective of eternal verities...

Melissa: Good luck with that project! Could take a lifetime or two.


@Julie:

Julie: oh isn't that the truth. It's the same with any larger group. Group of people with depression, with cancer, with diabetes. The overall illness (or behavior set) is the same, but so many different little quirks it's frustrating (and intriguing) to sort out- both to see the differences, and the similarities.

Melissa: Great points, Julie.

Michael: Agreed!

Julie: I scored a 27. I thought it would be higher, but think my issues must be more introvert/ocd than asperger’s.

Michael: That’s close to your score, love.

Melissa: I know, but she’s actually a little higher—I’m jealous!

Michael: Being this way isn’t a fun little club to belong to. The hypersensitivity alone is exhausting.

Melissa: Haha. I know, but I think of myself as tipping toward the A end of the scale—really just balanced between the two halves. But I think it’s more along the lines of what Julie was saying. I straddle that see-saw between introversion and extroversion. One of those personality tests (Myers-Briggs, probably) talks about writers tending to fall into this category.

Julie: I've learned to be more more socially adept in work situations (I do have 37 years of 'being female' with all that's required (heavy social studying, face reading, body reading) under my belt), but still flounder a bit if it's not required of me to make the effort...and it's always an effort to kickstart the waterwheel. Once it's going, it feels wonderful and I love everyone, but much straining goes into the initial effort.

Melissa: Well-put, and I can definitely relate. It’s especially hard to shift back into the more social mode when I’ve been immersed in writing or design or some other creative project.

Julie: I just downloaded Animals in Translation & Animals Make Us Human from Audible earlier today. I've read one of them before, but don't remember which.

Melissa: I downloaded Animals in Translation from Audible, too! I’m an audiobook fiend, but I mostly rely on what I can find for free at librivox. Animals is one of the few audiobooks I’ve actually bought. But I had just “read” (listened to) the absolutely fascinating Born on a Blue Day, and I was hungry for more wonderful autobiographical writing by autistics, so I downloaded Animals. Temple Grandin is great. Sounds like I’ll have to check out Animals Make Us Human, too.

Michael: Temple always wears cool, ornate Western-style shirts, too!

Melissa: Hahaha.

Julie: Different points of view are so valuable. I hope our society (more specifically myself) keeps focused on that. Different is good, difficult is good, scary/stress to a certain point is good...well, until it's not.

Michael: Well-said, Julie.

Melissa: Agreed!
"They want to inhabit their mental media asylum."

The quote of the day, and it explains a few things.
The dialogue-form post-processing of reader comments is another fine invention of yours that would deserve another rating thumb.

P.S.: Not to burden you further: no response is necessary to this comment :-)

P.P.S.: I love the simple "e" pronoun.

P.P.P.S.: I am told that “ő” in Hungarian is a long vowel, pronounced roughly as the first vowel in "burden".

P.P.P.P.S.: Yes, life on Earth without "Oops!" would be not worth living (and probably impossible too).
@zumalicious:

zumalicious: "They want to inhabit their mental media asylum." The quote of the day, and it explains a few things.

Melissa: Wow, that’s quite an honor, especially coming from you, zumalicious. Thank you!

Michael: Yes. I think it explains a lot of things. The deterioration of what passes for public discourse in this country would be unrecognizable to people from even 100 years ago. I can remember when I was young, reading the words of someone like George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, and I thought, my God, these people are geniuses. What I didn’t realize is I was actually noticing the difference between what was considered an education then and now.

Melissa: Right. I mean, like, totally, dude.

Michael: Whatever.


@GalaxyMan:

GalaxyMan: The dialogue-form post-processing of reader comments is another fine invention of yours that would deserve another rating thumb.

Melissa: Thanks for the two thumbs up!

GalaxyMan: P.S.: Not to burden you further: no response is necessary to this comment :-)

Michael: We have to respond, GalaxyMan—it feels weird not to. That makes me think of a skit the Kids in the Hall did where one character is trying to make small talk, while the other creepily stares back at him, saying nothing.

Melissa: It’s hilariously painful to watch.

Michael: Yes, but it makes you see how weird it is not to respond to someone who’s talking to you.

GalaxyMan: P.P.P.S.: I am told that “ő” in Hungarian is a long vowel, pronounced roughly as the first vowel in "burden".

Michael: Thanks, GalaxyMan.

Melissa: Yeah, it sounds kind of like “her” without the “h” sound. Interesting.

GalaxyMan: P.P.P.P.S.: Yes, life on Earth without "Oops!" would be not worth living (and probably impossible too).

Michael: Yes. I need my daily “Oops!” We are talking about object-oriented programming, right?

Melissa: Hahaha.
oh god, i keep forgetting. you guys are here in Oregon!!! and mr. m says oregon is still here. that's good i guess. i hope that maybe sometime we can meet up. i know a few Asperger's people so i understand what you all are talking about.

your fabulous pieces are too long and too much for me but i wanted to share that i too have come to sometimes enjoying making regular people feel uncomfortable. i get so sick of them not "getting" me, that i'm a performer at heart, that i love to make people laugh, all of which makes me loud and emotional and demanding of attention and all fo that terrifies oregonians it seems.

it's all so fascinating because you two must experience the opposite thing, where you find interactions with people a chore and you're probably quiet, more quiet than others find compatible.

sorry, i hope i'm making sense. love love lvoe and big gratitude for being such supportive friends.
i feel inadequate to be here and to read what you two write. i hope you can forgive me for only grasping a little her and a little there. and you guys know that i love strangers because i wrote that poem. i see my friends on OS as intimate strangers maybe. that and friends with whom i can be really honest. which is a blessing.
Hi M&M, there's such a wealth of thoughts in this post that it would take me forever to comment on. This we're particularly poignant:

Getting to the store and racks of magazines behind them, it’s just a constant bombardment against us of this artificial life that we’re given to care about when in fact it has NOTHING to do with our own lives whatsoever. In fact, I think it serves to make us just unhappy enough with our own lives to keep buying more things in the effort to achieve that nirvana of happiness that always comes from buying something that time and time again we have learned actually doesn’t make us happy.

That's so true, and I think at the root of so much of our ills today.

And I also liked this comment you made to keen:

It kind of feels that way at OS—we overhear each other’s thoughts, conversations, hopes, and fears. It starts feeling like a collective consciousness (or quasi-consciousness?) because of our overlapping perceptions and shared knowledge, which are constantly evolving at different rates for each participant.

I'm also beginning to sense that some of us are truly connected to each other's thought, and that we're building and feeding on each other''s thought space. I think I metaphysical experiment of sorts is taking place before our very eyes, perhaps evolving a whole new deeper interconnected reality and way to relate that will put the neurologically overwhelming tv (as per the sensor in The Release) to dust. How awesome is that?

And my apologies for not visiting a while, but that counts for everyone else as well.
ack -I am trying to focus on this and I have four children dancing around me singing the chacha...too much 4th of July sugar...which makes me think of Michael and his comment about how nice sugar feels in his tummy and then reminds me of a comment you guys left me telling me of his soda-habit. I really have to go tend to my children and holiday guests...I will be back when it is peaceful!
Too... much... here... Wow! Whee! Michael, when I worked in a skyscraper in NYC there were times I would enter a crowded elevator and purposely refrain from facing the doors. I told myself it was a social experiment, but the pleasure I derived from watching the twitching discomfort in my fellow passengers was ...satisfying.

Yes, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" We'll choose the beautiful lie over difficult truth more often than not. We live in maya. But, as Julie said, difficult is good. Come in, please, make yourself uncomfortable.

Thank you for this rich post. I want to share with you this:

MUCH madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness.
’T is the majority
In this, as all, prevails.
Assent, and you are sane;
Demur,—you ’re straightway dangerous,
And handled with a chain. - Emily Dickinson


And this:

And as the plane descends, it comes to me
in the space
where tears stream down across the stars,
tears fallen on the actual earth
where their shining is what we call spirit,
that once the lover
recognizes the other, knows for the first time
what is most to be valued in another,
from then on, love is very much like courage,
perhaps it is courage, and even
perhaps
only courage. Squashed
out of old selves, smearing the darkness
of expectation across experience, all of us little
thinkers it brings home having similar thoughts
of landing to the imponderable world,
the transoceanic airliner,
resting its huge weight down, comes in almost lightly,
to where
with sudden, tiny, white puffs and long, black, rubberish smears
all its tires know the home ground.

- from "Flying Home by Galway Kinnell
Melissa!

I thought youmeant annoying special people! Like celebrities, etc...ach, i get into so much trouble with my mouth i should just stop
talking altogether.. & me such a sweetie pie blue eyed boy of 12!

ach.jim
@Theodora:

Theodora: oh god, i keep forgetting. you guys are here in Oregon!!! and mr. m says oregon is still here. that's good i guess.

(both laughing)

Theodora: i hope that maybe sometime we can meet up. i know a few Asperger's people so i understand what you all are talking about.

Michael: “We’ll see.”

Melissa: “Whenever my father said that, it always meant ‘No.’” But you never know :-)

Theodora: your fabulous pieces are too long and too much for me

Melissa: We’ll have to start making the Theodora’s Digest version ;-)

Theodora: but i wanted to share that i too have come to sometimes enjoying making regular people feel uncomfortable.

Michael: Thank you for admitting that, Theodora. consonantsandvowels was also kind enough to confess to this social vice. It’s nice to know we’re not alone.

Theodora: i get so sick of them not "getting" me, that i'm a performer at heart, that i love to make people laugh, all of which makes me loud and emotional and demanding of attention and all fo that terrifies oregonians it seems.

Melissa: (laughing) Well, you certainly don’t terrify us, Theodora. Then again, we’re California refugees, so we can’t vouch for native Oregonians ;-)

Theodora: it's all so fascinating because you two must experience the opposite thing, where you find interactions with people a chore and you're probably quiet, more quiet than others find compatible.

Melissa: I don’t find interactions with people a chore, but I am relatively quiet in larger groups and definitely prefer conversations with a close friend.

Michael: I’m so incompatible with people that Melissa is pretty much the only person I associate with. And that’s been going on for over a decade. Hooray!

Melissa: Hahaha.

Theodora: sorry, i hope i'm making sense. love love lvoe and big gratitude for being such supportive friends.

Michael: I think you always make sense. As a matter of fact, if you wouldn’t be offended, I would say that you’re like the personification of Maude from Harold and Maude. I think you’re awesome.

Melissa: Me, too! Only you should probably clarify that Theodora is more like the young version of Maude :-)

Theodora: i feel inadequate to be here and to read what you two write. i hope you can forgive me for only grasping a little her and a little there.

Melissa: Inadequate?! How could you think such a thing? We’re honored to have you.

Theodora: and you guys know that i love strangers because i wrote that poem. i see my friends on OS as intimate strangers maybe. that and friends with whom i can be really honest.

Michael: Yes, I can see the therapeutic nature of this place, like an unguided group session.

Theodora: which is a blessing.

Melissa: Absolutely. Thank you for blessing us with your friendship, honesty, and humor, Theodora.
@Newton:

Newton: Hi M&M, there's such a wealth of thoughts in this post that it would take me forever to comment on.

Michael: How do you think your posts are, Newton? Help!

Melissa: Yes, I always feel like I’m just scratching the surface. I could write an entire essay in response to each of your posts if only there were infinite supplies of time.

Newton: I'm also beginning to sense that some of us are truly connected to each other's thought, and that we're building and feeding on each other''s thought space.

Michael: Have you mentioned karasses to Newton yet?

Melissa: I’m sure I have.

Newton: I think I metaphysical experiment of sorts is taking place before our very eyes, perhaps evolving a whole new deeper interconnected reality and way to relate that will put the neurologically overwhelming tv (as per the sensor in The Release) to dust. How awesome is that?

Melissa: Pretty darn!

Newton: And my apologies for not visiting a while, but that counts for everyone else as well.

Melissa: You never need to apologize about this. We completely sympathize. We have so many plates spinning in the air simultaneously, we’re lucky if we can find time to rate let alone comment on the many wonderful pieces we’ve been reading by our friends here. There are so many of your posts we’re looking forward to exploring, gradually catching up on comments as we can find pockets of time here and there.


@mamoore:
mamoore: ack -I am trying to focus on this and I have four children dancing around me singing the chacha...

(both laughing)

mamoore: too much 4th of July sugar...which makes me think of Michael and his comment about how nice sugar feels in his tummy

Michael: When I was ten, after my grandfather would leave for work at night (he was a truckdriver), I would take the silver dollars from my plastic bunny rabbit bank and sneak to the local minute market to purchase as much candy as I could carry. Ever since then, I’ve been hooked.

mamoore: and then reminds me of a comment you guys left me telling me of his soda-habit.

Michael: Another lifelong addiction. Although I had to switch to diet soda when my vision suddenly went blurry and during my eye exam, the doctor warned me it might be diabetes.

Melissa: Which went away as soon as you got off regular sodey for a while. That’s pretty scary that you were consuming so much it made you borderline diabetic.

Michael: Yes, and I’m drinking even more now.

Melissa: Mmm, aspartame.

Michael: Donald Rumsfeld’s chemical.

Melissa: Is it?

Michael: It is.

Melissa: Now that makes it even more terrifying.

mamoore: I really have to go tend to my children and holiday guests...I will be back when it is peaceful!

Melissa: No rush!

Michael: The post will be here waiting patiently.
@consonantsandvowels:

consonantsandvowels: Too... much... here... Wow! Whee!

Melissa: We’re delighted you enjoyed the ride!

consonantsandvowels: Michael, when I worked in a skyscraper in NYC there were times I would enter a crowded elevator and purposely refrain from facing the doors. I told myself it was a social experiment, but the pleasure I derived from watching the twitching discomfort in my fellow passengers was ...satisfying.

Michael: I’m glad you were brave enough to try that experiment. I think the world needs people to shake it up now and then.

Melissa: Yeah, like 3 Non-Blondes or Dom Joly’s Trigger Happy TV. Or Sacha Baron Cohen for that matter.

consonantsandvowels: Yes, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" We'll choose the beautiful lie over difficult truth more often than not. We live in maya.

Melissa: Makes me wonder if Keats was deluded when he said, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.” But then again, maybe he’s speaking of deeper truths and beauties, the more permanent sort.

consonantsandvowels: But, as Julie said, difficult is good. Come in, please, make yourself uncomfortable.

(both laughing)

consonantsandvowels: Thank you for this rich post. I want to share with you this:

Melissa: Wow, consonantsandvowels. You managed to find two poems by two of my favorite poets I hadn’t yet read! Dickinson is, of course, Dickinson. Stark-raving brilliant, as always. And the Galway Kinnell poem—I’m surprised I hadn’t read that one yet! I thought I’d read all his work, but then again that was back in the nineties, so this may be more recent. I actually ran into him at Chaucer’s, a Santa Barbara bookstore, after I’d had him sign some books following a poetry reading. I wrote an article about it for my college paper; now I wish I could remember what I said. Anyway, he was quite kind, and we both retreated quietly to our book browsing after a pleasant exchange in the aisles of Chaucers.


@Jim:

Jim: I thought youmeant annoying special people! Like celebrities, etc...

Melissa: Oh dear! Big difference, of course. Sorry for causing any confusion. We were talking about truly special people, not the faux specials who are paraded in front of us for worshiptainment.

Jim: ach, i get into so much trouble with my mouth i should just stop talking altogether..

Michael: I know exactly what you mean.

Jim: & me such a sweetie pie blue eyed boy of 12!

Melissa: Ah, Peter Pan.

Michael: I think Peter Pan had green eyes. And I don’t think he was very sweet, either, so that’s two Jim has on him.

Melissa: I suppose he was sort of mischievous.

Michael: Well, Jim is mischievous, too.

Melissa: Yes, in a scholarly sort of way.