Music:the Chromatics' "High Energy Groove" (in my head)
Ten things I assume people know about me:
I live on LJ.Most of my social interaction happens either here or with people who are on here. Most of my closest friends are people whose primary point-of-contact I list as LJ in my head. amberfox and I are notorious for our long and odd phone conversations, and I have IM discussions with people, but as I know them, they're LJ people first and foremost. People who I've never met in person can me marked "real friends" in my head, whereas some of the people I know face-to-face are not Real Friends, because they haven't met the bits of me that matter.
I grew up without a TV. Dad had a Thing about television. He was born in the '40s, so he saw the evolution of the goddamn-noisy-box, and he saw what happened to GrandfatherSir when he finally got a television. GrandfatherSir used to be a dynamic and creative man, with all sorts of projects brewing. After the television, GrandfatherSir became a couch potato, parked in front of it all day. I never knew him in his youth, of course. I think I would have liked him despite his temper.
Because of this, there was no television in the house of my childhood. News was from radio: NPR. Entertainment was books. I did not miss it, and in fact felt rather smugly morally superior, until I discovered Star Trek and therefore a reason to want to have a television on a regular basis.
I prefer written media to television and movies. Because of the above item, I got used to books, and I like them better. I've also been told that I have many of the symptoms of an attention deficit and hyperactivity condition. I can get up and get water, get carrot sticks, answer the phone, write something for LJ that I suddenly need to, visit the wc, embark upon housecleaning, or leave home entirely while I'm in the middle of a book. The same does not hold for television. I have a need to be doing something while I watch TV, such as crocheting, so that I don't feel that my time is being wasted and I don't go stir-crazy.
I'm bisexual, polyamorous, pagan, fen, and multiple.I used to introduce myself to potential friends in this general fashion to see if they'd scare easily. I also did this to see if they were harboring any conspicuous negative prejudices on the topics, because I'd rather lose a chance at friendship than go through the anguish of losing a friendship, however tenuously established a new friendship.
These days, it's sort of a standard-warnings package. I swing both ways. This means that, in theory, I will shag anything. In practice, it generally means that I get a lot of equal-opportunity ogling time. I'm discreet on that front. I'm polyamorous, which means that I fall in love a lot, and don't have to fall out of love with someone before I fall in love with someone else. This generally results in Darkside being Very Patient, and telling me he had suspected it was doomed to fail, afterwards. Pagan -- this would be Very Eclectic Neopagan. I don't talk much about the interior of my beliefs, but I see one grand Divine, and the four faces of this that have tapped me are Eris, Diana, Aphrodite, and Elohim. (One of these things is not like the other. This causes ... much oddness, and yet very little.) Fen -- plural of fan. Rather a lot of bizarre geekage. Current interests include Harry Potter, Star Wars, X-Files, and Bujold. Multiple -- depending on who's doing what, someone interacting with me could be interacting with up to or exceeding four distinct personalities. This multiplicity is a benign, if odd, coping mechanism, and stems from a childhood confusion with names and societal expectations rather than a trauma or external beings wandering in.
I've never dated Darkside. That's not to say that I'm not madly in love with him. I am. But we've never dated. I met him in November 2000, fell madly in love January 2001, was there for him for his breakup with his first and only serious girlfriend in April 2001, and have been close friends with him thereafter. A number of factors contribute to his unwillingness to even try dating me; one of the most profound is that he doesn't want to risk losing the friendship. This is generally considered a lame excuse, but I understand it perfectly and it is a reason that satisfies me. This reason is why the connection is now 99% angst-free.
I might as well have been a father. Once upon a time, I gained a Virtual Sister, and her son, the Little Fayoumis, as my virtual nephew. I moved in with them on April 16th, 2001. They moved out in January 2005. In the interim, I was, for the most part, a second (or third) parent to the Little Fayoumis, tackling issues like homework, chores, language, bedtime, story time, meals, doing as told, sick kid in the middle of the night, parent orientation night at school, and suchlike. He already had a mother, and I had no desire to be another, but I was the best father I knew how to be, taking my cue from all the things that Dad did right, and doing my damnedest to avoid the things I know he did wrong.
I am not socially confident offline. My social confidence came to me later in my youth. In childhood, my hidden/family self was perfectly socially ept and precocious. My public/school self had no idea how to interact with peers in a positive and productive manner, save for a very few Kindred Spirits. This holds over in my face-to-face life; I'm still not sure how to tackle any new situation, and I don't do well with new people, new places, social situations where I don't know the ropes, and such things. I know I talk too much; I know I'm far too shy; I know I can be intimidating; I'm afraid of screwing up. All these and more conspire to convince me that unless the people around me are Kindred Spirits or unless I can put my polished and professional face on, that I really don't want to be visible.
Despite the strong LJ presence, I'm actually introverted. The classic description of introvert vs. extrovert is that the extrovert recharges in the presence of People, and the introvert has to recharge by being away from People. I draw the line between People and not-People; there are some humans who are not-People by dint of my being able to recharge in their presence. (Darkside is not-People. Darkside's mom and dad are very much People. Dawn is not-People. Dawn's husband is People enough to make me disappear. ralmathon is not-People. figment0 is People, now. Sadly.) When I have an overexposure on People, it winds up manifesting itself as something that looks a lot like agoraphobia, except I can go outside; I just can't be around People.
That's the severe end. In non-crucial stages, this means that after two to six hours of being around People, I can, will, and must withdraw to a place of quiet safety without People. Sometimes this can be as simple as sitting in the corner with a book. Other times it needs must manifest itself as actually going home, or bidding my guests farewell. I am hesitant to host gatherings of People, since my social spoons are unpredictable.
LJ is not face-interaction, and I can withdraw and go read a fic or something else if I'm feeling too socially pressured. It's not that I'm shy, or unwilling to reveal my thoughts: it's that talking means People.
I assume that I'm perfectly average in most respects. Mama and Dad saw that they were raising two very intelligent girls, and decided that having us stuck up because of our brains would get us into a lot of trouble very quickly. They therefore treated us as if there was nothing too unusual about us, while encouraging us in the areas of our talents and interests. I was happily reading at third grade reading level at home before starting the first grade. It was at school that I learned that while I was devouring Encyclopedia Brown, my classmates were struggling with the Berenstein Bears. I was indignant at missing out on the fun books that my classmates were checking out from the school library, so I picked those same books out for myself, because they were bright, shiny, and a whole lot of fun.
I inevitably would run into situations where I'd do something perfectly normal (to me) and the person I was doing this in front of would either not be able to do this same thing (be the only one trying not to fall on the floor laughing at the dinner bell incident in To Kill a Mockingbird, read a 300-page novel in an evening, be visibly Not Paying Attention but be able to recite back the salient points of the lesson in such a way that classmates of mine who were struggling suddenly Got It, and so forth) and I would either say or think some variation on the theme "But everyone's supposed to be able to do this ... aren't they?" I am still learning otherwise. Since I view these arguably exceptional things as perfectly normal, when those around me can't do them, I am astonished at what seems to be subnormal intelligence. My "normal" baseline is of the denizens of the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth summer programs, not an average sampling.
Incidentally, the compulsive use of "X and I" really annoys me in ways I can't even begin to describe. Dad raised us with internalized good grammar. Anyone who used baby-talk in my presence or swallowtayle's presence after we'd reached the age of four or five shocked us and drew sneering or haughty responses from us, as we were perfectly coherent living beings, thank you very much. Yet another thing that most of my classmates didn't have. (Living with Sis damaged my writing, speaking, and thinking in ways I can't even begin to articulate. For the most part, I write the way I speak, except the things that I will allow past my lips has degraded unimaginably, just through osmosis.)
I do not have a car of my own.It seems like a sort of essential thing that most people have, but I don't have one. Every post in this LJ from November 2000 onwards that features me driving is me on borrowed wheels.
I might well have a different job if I had wheels. As it is, the primary attraction of this job is that I can walk there, so I don't have to depend on an uncertain bus schedule. (There are other good things about it, but that's #1 at the root.) My social life is different when I have wheels. I go and visit my local friends. I go to group activities more often. I can initiate face-to-face contact with my best friend. 3 hours of driving to see him for 15 minutes is well worth my time. The assumption of a car is rather hard-coded into US culture in essentially everywhere but New York City, and maybe San Francisco. But I don't have one.