So there you have me, sitting in virtual suspended animation while social situations unfold around. You’d think I was sitting in the corner alone and sparsely-rendered comments out of my pursed lips likely blurt out even harsher than the look on my face. Even that look - The Look – makes people think right off the bat that I have something fiery and violent against them, and they're only partially right!
I can't help The Look. Sid Vicious had a girlfriend named Nancy; in her childhood the parents called it "The Look" on Nancy's face when she was frozen and distant. Many find it hard to believe that I don't intend to look the way I do. The corners of my mouth, naturally sloped downwards, decipher to most as annoyance with a commanded "back off", even when I'm perfectly docile and a stern "fuck off" when I'm not. I'm not a smiler. In fact, I can rarely smile if there's no specific reason to smile (my life so far provides little), and without a smile warranted it is back to The Look with me. It is worthy of note that I have a school photograph of me from fifth grade, and it might interest these people so keen to decipher me with common codices to note The Look on my ten-year old face.
I can't help the way I look, but surely I should be able to build bridges via words. It's a romantic notion: deluded, trumped-up writers of fancy propping themselves capable of penning victory over broadswords and swirling saw blades, but I don't have anything else. Too bad I scintillate only through the written word, not in real-time and badly out of fashion. And shame on me over assuming someone'll actually take time digesting the type of things I pour on the virtual page. My lovely abstract reader.
In any case, the analyst in me can isolate two distinct social modes in my behaviour: 50/50? Let's call them 'active' and 'passive'. Makes sense that a passive-aggressive person would splinter off into two - the first one occurs when I'm feeling good and the other takes over all other occasions. I work socially well when I feel good, I've discovered, while the rest of the time I just sulk, a motionless reaction machine resisting input, and basically react to things I should act upon. How obvious it is here that I don't feel good most of the time. Then, I feel alienated and alas - I'm a lump that finds it painful even to look at people, and consistently look past the eyes of others while The Look sits ward on my face. Such a safe mode! If I don't look directly at people, they and the grim personal failure they then placehold don't exist. Avoid watching people, no eyes, pick a good direction - preferably void of humans - and stare off into the distance, crackling in silence.
It's a cycle with my chicken-and-egg, bored-and-anguished look justified by loneliness that just pushes people back even more. Yet what I really, really need in these situations is flesh-and-blood people (preferably female, because boring males are just Valerie Solanas .22 target practice while listening to "Stray Bullet" on repeat) forcing themselves upon me to get accustomed to. At least, I hope I will eventually. Please hold me, my dear abstract reader, and tell me not to even go there. Even if you only can when intoxicated.
It is safe to say that for most people, human interaction gives off some kind of an innate, giddy buzz from the reward system of the brain. Even if some like to think the brain to be something much more wondrous and indecipherable than all those inconvenient thalami and limbic systems. In any case, the result is that people want to get to know new people and to talk to them because it is rewarding, whether they notice it or not. I'm pretty sure that there's something seriously wrong with the respective system in my head. It has to be fucked up: disabled, damaged or greatly diminished. You'd think mine is only capable of negative reinforcement, because I don't feel that great about social relationships. I'm very glad I have them, I can appreciate them and I often congratulate myself over reaching past myself for once, but it just bloody well doesn't feel anything special. I desperately wish it did, because it would automatically rewire me towards compatibility. Lessen my burden considerably.
This is yet another one of those asinine romantic notions - hoping against all psychological cartography and the faculties of science that it'll kick-start eventually - that Pinocchio here can dream of humanity.
What gets me is that by all means I shouldn't be so entirely incompatible with mankind at large. I'm really smart, dynamic and funny when I feel good. I'm not a one-trick pony and I'm definitely usable, like a good Turing machine with high freak potential. I shouldn't be a miserable, beached wreck or this sort of a burnt-out 28-year old virgin with bleak prospects and no hope to speak of. Even if no dark aura or impregnable Walls exist, damned if I knew what the hell to do to get it right. I can't just think my way out of it. If I didn't know other people can't help me, I'd think it'd have to come from somewhere beyond myself. In past, I've just projected my running failure on other people, a feat made easy by the boozing, sub-human mullets of my childhood, not worth the life imprinted on their cells. But for adulthood, my lovely reader, I'm going to need some new algorithms.