Thursday, September 8, 2011

I don't do people things

Personal Failure recently told the story of a young man who helped her out during middle school, because (A) he was kind enough, and (B) he could see what needed to be done, when everybody else in the room was caught up in their own fears and embarrassments and shaming and other reactions. His name was Kyle.

I'd like to claim to be Kyle. I'm not, but I wish I was. I think I may have played a similar role, here and there, for a couple of people; but I'm not telepathic, so I can't be sure. And the thing is, it wasn't just a matter of kindness; it worked because I was so deeply strange as to be essentially unfazeable. I don't really understand people; I don't do people-things. Or at least, I didn't use to. I've gotten better at it as I've grown older. But there have been points where this oddity, this same quality that makes it so hard for me to relate and interact in normal social situations, allows me to react usefully in situations where normal social etiquette has run screaming from the room.

And the fact that it did sometimes work that way was one of the things that eventually helped me decide that what I am isn't broken, it's just different. There's a story there, but you can probably fill in the details for yourself; odds are you've lived through some version of the story.

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