Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Because They're There.

Somebody once said to me: ‘You should get out more and meet people.’

Why? What would it achieve? Not friendship or companionship or any of the other ships to which we’re persuaded to cling in the stormy sea of life. It doesn’t work that way with me, and it’s an interesting feature of a life like mine that very few people out there can even begin to understand why it doesn’t work that way with me.

We’re supposed to make friends with neighbours and work colleagues, aren’t we – people we’re accidentally thrown up against in the general prosecution of life? We are, and most of us do, but it’s an alien concept to me. If I’m to be friends with somebody, that person has to have qualities which I respect and to which I can relate. They have to be on a wavelength similar to mine, or at least be genuinely sympathetic towards it. Such people are few and far between, and I’m quite unable to relate to a person on anything more than the most superficial level if they’re there just because they’re there. I’m inconveniently endowed with tunnel vision when it comes to relationships.

But we all know that getting on with people just because they’re there is how communities function. It’s why people get together to chew the cud in village pubs and community centres, or take an active part in community activities, or go for communal walks, or throw pool parties for the neighbours’ kids, or have a satisfying life discussing shared interests in the cosy atmosphere of social and recreational clubs. (Coincidentally, it can also lead to people being ostracised because they dare to be different, or because they simply don’t fit in with received axioms. There can be a darker side to the communal imperative.)

And so I freely admit that this connection to the community ethos is all very fine in its own way and I do support the concept. The problem is that it means getting on with people just because they’re there, and to somebody like me that’s akin to being slowly suffocated.

All of which leads me to say that I would rather not be judged as mean. I’m not mean by nature. I don’t want to be mean. Although I admit to being intolerant of bullies, braggarts, bigots, ego-maniacs, camp followers and preachers, I’m also sentimental, compassionate, romantic, Romantic, idealistic, open minded, humorous, childlike in certain ways, mildly iconoclastic and a good listener. It’s just that if I’m forced to connect for more than a few minutes with people just because they’re there, I get fractious. I can be taken to the edge of reason.  And if people who are not on a similar wavelength to mine force their presence into my space, the anger starts to rise and I slip even closer to the edge. In the final analysis, all I want is to be allowed to be authentic. And that’s why there wouldn’t be any point in my getting out more and meeting people.

And I know I’m not alone. There are others out there with a similar problem; I’ve even met a few. I sometimes think it would be easier if we could be given a label – something like anorexic or autistic, something that would light a faint glimmer of recognition in the eyes of the normal folks, so they could say ‘Ah yes, I’ve heard of that. It must be awful for you’ … because normal folks like labels.

But we don’t have a label. We’re just a bit outside the box, and so we have to walk the less trodden paths alone, seeking our own sort of peace with life wherever it might be found. It isn’t usually easy, and sometimes it’s downright impossible.

Sorry for the extended rant. I expect normal service will be resumed eventually.

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