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It's genetic (part 5)

August 7, 2017

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Dude, be casual

October 5, 2000

 

 

 

Everything I do, I do enthusiastically. And when I do find myself engaged in something half-heartedly, distaste for myself curdles in my throat like past-date dairy product. So for example, when I decide what I *really* want is to just languish on the couch watching "Wild Discovery" or "The Real World" or some such horrifying product, I really throw myself into it. Lichen will grow on my shady side. I am not "vegging". I am passionately relaxing.

 

For years I had a problem with being too emphatic. I'd be excitedly describing something to a person, and find myself grinding to a halt because they were starting to look like they were going to cry or something. I've found the trick is to be casual; relaxed. Talk about stuff like, you know, you could take it or leave it. Whatever. Nevermind.

 

More important is the ability to laugh, back off, when mocked or teased. If I ever felt misunderstood it was like my persona was crackling out of reception and I had to bang on the TV, only it was more of a verbal assault on some poor unsuspecting very relaxed person who had a more overly-developed sense of humor than I could cope with. Damn them. I'm just trying to straighten out your many, many misconceptions. Cooperate or we'll be here all night.

 

Man, I've always been so super-serious; and a complete smartass at the same time. There are a number of people I've realized have no idea whatsoever which is which with me, and they generally regard me with sort of bewildered avoidance. (Wait... that doesn't-- oh, who cares.) I admire very much Ashley's ability to laugh at himself. He has such a sweetly self-deprecating sense of humor, very English; and he is humble to the core, while putting his utmost integrity into everything he does. He's pretty darn enthusiastic himself.

 

Part of what made the first months working at Schwab so hard was that I was not enthusiastic at all. I was suspiscious of everyone, disinterested in their random lives or office politics or going-away parties for John in copywriting or Tracy in management. It gave me a creepy feeling, being that detached; it doesn't suit me and I've never been good at it. Every day of the first 3 months I spent there, I took a moment to answer the mental questionnaire: Shall we quit today? Maybe not. Let's see what happens. Ugh. Some kind of enthusiasm!

 

Suddenly *I'm* the bewildered one: everyone's interested in me. Skinny, boisterous, blondish TV-mom happily inquires what my tattoos mean. "Oh. Um, I don't know," I stutter, backing away slowly. Surely she doesn't actually want to know? Is this a plot? I run back to the pathetic safety of my cube and tell myself I hate this place, go back to my mental questionnaire: Shall we not return from lunch today?

 

I reel from the distaste of my own noncommitment.

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