Lessons

There are some things I figured I wouldn’t have to teach people. Common sense things that you figure everyone would know. Or conscience things – you know so and so will pick up after themselves as they don’t want to be thought of badly.

This is apparently incorrect thinking.

Continue reading

Solitude, My Fortress

I don’t like people.

Crowds of people. New people. Old people and Young people. Couples, families (not just mine), adults or children alike. Just in general – people I don’t like them.

They make me feel uncomfortable, ill at ease. My skin itches and I want to make them stop looking at me, even if they may not be looking at me.

I feel like I’m obligated to interact with them, to want to be interested in their needs and desires. It’s rude to just kind of walk away from them as they’re talking or just kind of pose random questions that have nothing to do with them.

There is an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation whee data is kissing his girlfriend and she asks him what he was thinking about during that kiss.

If you don’t want to watch it – he talks about configuring a warp core, indexing the various works of Charles Dickens, how much pressure to apply to her lips without hurting her and more… I can relate to that. My mind is doing all these other things when I’m supposed to be focused on an individual or task. I don’t want to stop my brain from doing the other things it’s doing so I can focus on someone else… it’s selfish I guess.

During the brief time I was engaged I struggled pretty regularly with how much attention he expected. While I was just comforted by him being there near me and for us to communicate and have sexual relations – he wanted me to be interested in his interests and do what he was doing, regardless if I liked doing that or not. It wasn’t ideal for me.

With my two best friends, Suzanne and Eric, I find I don’t really worry about that. I just am and they are just there with me. Sometimes they talk and I participate but I don’t mind them and it doesn’t seem to interfere with what I am doing. When they met I wasn’t even aware they were meeting at the time – I was sitting by the pool with my headphones on and eyes closed. Suzanne had come to find me and sat next to me without disturbing me and then Eric came to find me and they introduced themselves without me even really having to be there. It was comforting. I honestly put my headphones back in without a care that they would be offended or want me to be part of that conversation. I love them – they are just right.

On the cruise ship we had dinner with a bunch of folks one night and were joined by a woman, who I heard was a little sloshed, and she was telling me that I was going to make so many new friends and best friends on the ship. I told her two is enough, more than enough – they call a couple times a year or I do and send emails. It’s a lot to deal with really – why would I want more of that? I don’t know. I told her as such and I was half joking but she was insistent that having more friends was such a great thing – I don’t get that.

During the muster – when we learned how to evacuate the ship in case of an emergency – we were packed pretty tight in there with the other passengers and it was taking forever. I don’t like that at all – don’t want those people to be near me breathing my air and keeping me from an exit. Always look for exits, that’s a good strategy.

Not liking people causes me some issues when I want to meet a guy.

I don’t like bars, too many people – I don’t drink and drunks can be rather annoying. I don’t like pride – way too many people. Or parties – small talk omg please no.

The trick at parties is to ask them questions and then hope they start rambling on and you can just void out of the conversation – once in a while nodding or saying “uh huh” or “hmmm” and you’ll be just fine. If you’re very lucky they catch on and will leave you alone. But that doesn’t really get you a guy.

So I talk to folks on dating apps – Growlr and the like. Many of them would like to meet me and I’ve considered meeting some of them – once in a rare while I will meet one of them out and about.

I went bowling with a nice guy – but started to feel very uncomfortable during the event and shortly after wanted him to just hurry up and bowl so I could go. Nothing to do with him, just wanted to crawl out of my skin and hide somewhere safe.

Mostly on the app I don’t want to meet them, I would rather stay home and not deal with another human being. So I take long breaks off the app and/or men 🙂 Probably not very good for the psyche.

A friend will invite me over, say to meet her new puppy, and I’ll agree to go, but getting to that point when it’s actually time is the difficult part. I start dreading going days before the agreed upon time and wonder if there is anything I can do to get out of it. I don’t like lying so it’s hard to find legitimate reasons to not do things others want me to do.

While in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) I learned skills to deal with people alone and in small and large groups. Shake their hand, ask how they are, try to listen. In groups stay busy – have a job you can focus on and think about – has it been done properly, was there something else that needed doing with that? It gave me a reason/excuse to get away from people too – I either had to shake someone else’s hand or a task needed doing so I could excuse myself – supposedly without hurting their feelings.

Sponsee’s were another matter entirely – It’s your job as a sponsor to listen to them and listen intently so you can help them find a solution. Ugh. That’s like the worst thing in the world to do to me. I never thought I was a good sponsor – I just wanted them to get better so they could go do things and talk to me less… yes, that’s my goal in AA, talk to me less.

Work is similar to AA. I have certain tasks to do, I can stay very busy and focus on those things without too much interaction with people. But they usually think I’m a good trainer or something and then I have people to teach and manage. Those people ask me questions – sometimes annoying questions they should know the answer to already and I just want to scream out loud and send them all scurrying away.

They don’t fear me, they know I’m usually patient and have an answer they’re looking for. Today one of them came up asked me a question, answered his own question and then asked if that was ok… honestly that was annoying, I likely could have done so many other things during that time.

Employees are akin to sponsee’s I just want them to get better so they can go do things and talk to me less. If they talk to me less I can work more and that keeps me from realizing all the people that keep interacting with me each day.

Work though gives me things to do to keep me focused. I feel comfortable there as it’s an every day thing and I know what to expect (usually).

Truthfully, I feel comfortable and safe in my bedroom. If I have to venture out I try to arrange it so I encounter as few people as possible and can return home experiencing minimal interactions.

Tonight though I drove to the middle of the city to attend the semi-final game for the high school girls basketball team I like – Mesquite Wildcats! I sat comfortably in the stand, surrounded by a couple friends and a bunch of folks I don’t know and was fine. I was focused on the team and how they play.

There I’m comfortable too. But still happy to be home in my room this evening.

Originally published on Niume – same day.

Now I’m 46

Another year has come and gone – this one seemed to go by very quickly for me. I had a lot going on, many changes began here and continued.

I left Alcoholics Anonymous

It was a while in the making. I finally saw the inner workings of the service side of AA, what I assumed would be the most spiritual was the most sick I guess. It seemed all anyone wanted was what they wanted, not what was best for AA as a whole. So to me I had lost a second part of the triangle, the one I believed in most – Service. Between that and the “fake it til you make it” dishonesty in an honesty program. I’m really an atheist and cannot swallow what others do in its entirety. Don’t miss it, gives me lots of free time and less to be resentful at. I did go to a meeting with Flo when I was in Albuquerque but that was for him, I was just along. No one from AA has really reached out to me asking me about it – some have said they want to leave too, so that’s interesting. Continue reading

Fleeing Facebook

I deactivated my Facebook account today, there are several reasons – mostly the election results and the realization of how many of my “friends” are racist, haters and hypocrites.

But honestly for me it’s almost as big a time sink as World of Warcraft was.  Continue reading

My Team

I love my job (most of the time) – I’m busy from the moment I get there until the moment I leave and that’s a great way to spend the day. Considering I spend 9 – 12 hours a day there and sometimes go in on Saturday – it’s good to like it.

I manage some tasks at work – I say I manage people, but one of my bosses said a few years ago that I don’t, so we’ll let him have that – I know what needs to be done each day and I get to map the best way to get there. I’m a result oriented guy – I want the jobs done efficiently and timely. I rely on a handful of people to get that accomplished.

It’s hard for me to let those things go and trust those other people… well it was at first. After you give them a chance to prove themselves often enough and they do then you can relax a little bit about what you’ve given them. If I give these six things to her and these 5 things to him I can do these remaining things that also need to be done.  Continue reading

Got Trust?

A few years back a psychologist helped me come to a conclusion on love – it has to be earned. No one gets a default feeling of love just because they are related to you, know you or were nice to you once in passing.

I loved the idea of my mother – a woman who cared for me, loved me, made sure my needs were met. I didn’t really have that, but was stuck on an idea of obligation of loving her because she birthed me. Truthfully, she only loved me when she needed something – attention, pity, affection or my social security number when her credit wore through.

Loving someone who doesn’t love you back, is using or manipulating you… not really a winning game. The same is true of trust and respect. Continue reading

Learning by Repetition

In college I took Psychology as one of my classes, I didn’t really have any desire to be a psychologist I was just filling up class space with something that I could tolerate. I only wanted to take English classes, but somehow I had to take math, computer science and welcome to college too… It got me on the Deans list so I guess that’s ok.

In preparation for my class I purchased my books ahead of time and then read a few chapters into each class before the first week of school – I wanted to be prepared. For my English class I don’t think we even referenced it the whole semester, but it was still good for me.  Continue reading

What’s Going On In My World

A nightmare woke me up this morning around 1:30 – couldn’t fall back to sleep after an hour or so so I’m up.

Someone was using text messages to hack into my brain – their little profile pic showed it was the Bones villain Christopher Pelant, a very smart computer guy who makes other peoples lives hell. He taunted me in the message a few times, I’d close it and another would open up again. I turned off the wifi and it was there again… pop, a new message from the hacker guy.

I felt as if he was inside my mind trying to erase important data that I needed. I had an image of a tall brunette woman with an axe chopping through walls that were made of magazine paper. “It’s gone, I’ll find it and you’ll never even know it was yours” she said.

I tried to close the chat window again and it just wouldn’t close – Pelant taunted me again, his profile pic laughing at me.

A friend grabbed my hand and said – “shut it all down, shut it all down before it’s too late.” but my other hand went to close the chat window… he squeezed my wrist and yanked out the power cord.

and I woke up

I was kept awake by the thought that maybe someone was really hacking into my brain – like on Johnny Mnemonic and they were taking something valuable. Then I realized I don’t really have anything valuable… so I started obsessing about work…  Continue reading

Passing

In 2014 I took and failed the exam for insurance licensure in the state of Arizona 4 times… I kid you not… 4 times. Three of those times I scored 68% (you need 70 to pass) and the last time was under 60 if I remember correctly… ugh

You can only take the test four times in a year… and then you have to wait one calendar year from the last time you failed. That was last October that I was eligible. I was in a class for The Hartford at the time and not feeling at all like that was going well either.

I was pretty overwhelmed by the entire notion… I was going through some shit last fall though so I’ll forgive myself I guess. Continue reading

Continuous Self-Improvement

I was talking to my boss the other day about motivation, self-improvement, staff and such. We’ve discussed these topics before – I think we both agree these are important goals.

He mentioned that he was reading the biography of Benjamin Franklin currently. Mr. Franklin didn’t finish school, he learned the hard way – because he wanted to. Benjamin would dedicate 5 hours each week to reading, not just anything either… he would read something different than what he was working on – so he didn’t just read about newspapers or how to discover electricity (they didn’t have “Discovering Electricity for Dummies back then) but things outside his regular wheelhouse.

It’s a good idea – I read a lot actually but mostly stuff I love and work in. Insurance magazines, accessibility information, comic books… but it’s much better to expand my horizons and expose myself to something new once in a while.

So I thought I’d start tonight to try some more continuous improvement – but not with books… I decided each day I’m going to watch at least one TED Talk.

The tag line on TED.com is “ideas worth sharing”and I’ve watched a few over the years…

  • Amanda Palmer – The Art of Asking (a while ago, her husband talked about it on his Tumblr so I checked it out) interesting, I liked it
  • Stanley McChrystal – Listen, Learn… then lead – not what I was expecting but good lessons about leading, failing and not becoming failures
  • Paola Antonelli – Why I brought Pac-Man to MoMA video games as art, if you’ve any doubts about the beauty of video games subscribe to World of Warcraft for 30 days and see some amazing stuff… I’m sure there are other games just as beautiful

I watched a few others that don’t stand out in my mind at the moment… but the bottom two were for tonight and I’m thinking I can watch at least one tomorrow too.. Let us see what these great minds can share with me.

I’ll also likely pick up the biography as it sounds interesting. I had just read an article on Mr. Franklin’s schedule not that long ago and now RBU mentions it… so I think that’s a good indicator of what I should read next. Many moons ago several people talked to me about the Kite Runner in the same week so I read that, well worth it too.

If I find some phenomenal TED talks I’ll share em here or on social media.