I sometimes think I'm missing something.
Maybe it's the way my parents raised me. Maybe it's the Catholic education I endured. Maybe it's the torment I suffered in grade school. Maybe it's a chemical imbalance. I don't know.
I focus on things that other people don't seem to focus on.
I seem to have great trouble dealing with things that the rest of the world accepts pretty naturally. I am simply flabbergasted at the way most people seem to approach relationships. I know several people who can (and do) discuss at great length specific situations with previous partners while sitting next to their current partner (or spouse!). That boggles my mind.
When I'm dating someone, I don't even want to hear a funny anecdote involving a previous boyfriend. I get physically uncomfortable if the discussion strays to what I consider taboo subjects. A girl I'm dating could tell me the funniest story in the world, and I'll still experience a sickening reaction at the fact that it involved a previous boyfriend.
Is this normal? It's such an aversion for me - it's almost like I'd prefer to live in complete denial of the past ... her past, at least.
I've been this way for about as long as I can remember - including my very first girlfriend 10 years ago. Who knows, maybe it was a result of that first girlfriend, and the way our relationship fell apart due to an ex-boyfriend. As I get older (and hopefully more mature), I find that I'm able to discuss the issues a little more honestly. I don't have any reason to hide this character flaw. It's a part of me. And before you ask - yes, I try my best to walk the walk and not just talk the talk: I try my absolute best not to discuss ex-girlfriends ever. About the only time I'll discuss it is if I'm cornered and forced to discuss something.
My last relationship ended (among other reasons) as a result of this weakness of mine. She was quite comfortable discussing her ex-boyfriends, and did so quite a bit initially. I tried my best (and failed beautifully) to articulate my reservations. But we approached the situation from such radically different points of view that we couldn't meet in the middle.
It makes me wonder what the future holds. It certainly doesn't bode well for me, I don't think.
I guess in the long run it boils down to insecurity. I'm not very secure, and I've yet to date a girl that I feel very secure in dating. Logically I know I have no reason not to be secure, and that I'm projecting my own insecurities forward. But that logic doesn't help mitigate the sickening feeling in my stomach when ex-boyfriends come up.
Insecure and jealous, and afraid of being hurt, and selfish and weak.
It's not entirely that I feel like there's an unspoken competition between me and the guy(s) before. It's not entirely that for years I've had an abysmal self-image. It's a terrible combination of a great many things. And it's a tremendous impediment.
Anyone have any suggestions?
I heard a local DJ ask the question whether you can (and indeed, should) forgive and forget. I didn't get the chance to listen to what callers-in had to say; but it got me thinking quite a bit.
I've historically had a very hard time with forgiveness. I freely admit that I hold a lot of grudges. It's probably not the best thing to do, but at least I'm honest about it. As I've matured, I've learned how to let things go, and not get as upset over long-past offenses. So I guess I'm learning to forgive.
But I don't think I can forget. Nor do I really want to. If I were to forget an offense committed against me (whatever it may be), I'd be denying that it ever occured. This seems counter-intuitive to me. Forgive and forget is indeed counter-intuitive to the old expression of Hurt me once, shame on you; hurt me twice, shame on me.
Now, I don't go around with a laundry list of things that people have done to me. I don't remind my friends of the (sometimes) nasty things they've said to me in the past. But if someone I'm close to does indeed upset me in some way, my remembrance of the previous transgression will help me deal with the current situation. How was it handled last time? Was it adequately resolved? Did we reach some understanding that is relevant to the current situation? Should I just blow this off and not spend my time being upset about it? Is this likely to happen again in the future?
Obviously not everyone thinks this way, or else an expression like forgive and forget would never have really caught on. I agree that it's a nice sentiment, in that those close to you should not continually be reminded of something they've long since apologized for. I do think, though, that purposefully forgetting something is a form of denial. And denying something that happened is just a silly thing to do.
If we were to take the forgive and forget mentality at face value, we'd never really learn anything. How could we, if we put pain and struggle immediately out of our minds once we reach a form of resolution? We learn from evaluating our past experiences. If I put my experiences out of my mind, how can I properly evaluate it? How can I compare and contrast it with my current experiences?
In other news, I've been receiving more hits from search engines for the periodic table of the elements. Oh no! I've said it again! I'm doomed to get hits from grade and high school students around the world now looking for the atomic weight of Molybdenum.
I've also received a couple of hits from people using google looking for, of all things, incest fiction. Several of my stories involve an incest theme, and this was obviously cataloged by google. Now that I've used the word incest a few more times, I'm sure to be listed high in the search results for "incest fiction".
Any other words I should use liberally to attract visitors? It seems that the non-sequiter stuff yields the most search engine hits, so maybe I should stop trying to put up legitimate content and focus entirely on oddball word combinations...
I was at Outland last night with some friends, when an attractive young blonde girl approached asking for a lighter. My friend quickly lit her cigarette, and this girl said 'thank you' while doing a half-curtsie. The alterno-frat boy next to us looked over and said "You don't know how much I wanted to do that!" To which I immediately replied "What, you wanted to curtsie to me?" This was, of course, met with a blank stare from him and a good amount of snide laughter from my group of friends. It's pretty rare that I manage to be funny every time I try to be.
My friend Jay, on the other hand, always seems to enjoy tremendous success with his witty humour. At a recent party, he introduced himself to everyone as Jay From Ohio. That really doesn't sound at all funny. If I were to introduce myself as Scott From Ohio, most people would smile politely and make a mental note to avoid me as much as possible for the remainder of the evening. Jay, on the other hand, received a very favorable response to this.
I guess part of it is that I just don't understand exactly how I come across to people. A great example of this is when I'm in a crowd. I try very hard to be a polite person. I don't just barge through. I always say "Excuse me, please" and try to be as patient as possible. Elfboy always tells me that although I say polite words, my inflection is one that generally sounds extremely pissed off. Instead of a soft, polite "Excuse me", he tells me it sounds like a booming commandment from God "EXCUSE ME!".
No doubt something similar happened with the alterno-frat boy last night at Outlands. My witty joke was received as some sort of violent verbal assault. Oh well. I'm sure he'll get over it.
In a completely different vein, I've made a massive update to the content here at skippy.net. Late last week I made an off-hand joke to a friend that skippy.net wasn't nearly self-aggrandizing enough. So I spent an entire evening scanning photos of various events. I'll eventually get around to categorizing these better, and adding the appropriate bits to the World Tour section. Until then, do enjoy laughing at me and my friends!
I've had a Palm III for a little over a year. It took me several months to really get into the habit of using it. But then all of a sudden it was absolutely indispensible. All my contacts were stored in there. My calendar. My incredibly addictive game of Mah Johngg.
And then like the idiot I am I dropped it, and cracked the screen. A flat $100 to repair it from Palm. I figured for an extra couple of bucks I'd try a new model. Except no one had any of the Palm IIIe or IIIxe in stock. So I settled on a Handspring Visor.
It's the same basic thing as my old Palm III, but different enough to be aggravating. First, of course, was the trauma of trying to remember how I had all my settings: alarm sounds and volume, fonts, etc etc. Then came the realization that the hot synch cradle for the Visor was different from my old Palm. Not a huge deal, but I had bought a seperate hot-synch cable that didn't have that nasty block on the end. And finally, I decided I just liked my old Palm more than the new Visor. It wasn't that I disliked the Visor ... I just really liked what I was used to.
The extra cable I puchased for my Palm provided me with more uses for my Palm. I was able to keep the original cradle hooked up to my desktop computer, and carry only the much smaller serial cable - a real lifesaver when travelling as much as I was. The other nifty use for this cable was that I was able to configure a few switches using a telnet client for the Palm.
I've looked at a few WinCE devices, but I've got to be honest: I'm not terribly impressed with them. They try to be much more than they need. The great thing about the Palm units is that they offer a very basic level of functionality, and allow the user to add those nifty utilities that they want. The WinCE devices, though, force PocketWord and PocketExcel on you whether you want them or not. I don't want a stripped down computer that fits in my hand - that doesn't provide me much functionality. The PalmOS is sleek and unobtrusive. It's extensible enough to allow people to make software that I'd be willing to pay for.
If a WinCE device was really what I was after, I think I'd be much more inclined to purse some form of tablet computing. These things look pretty cool, seem to operate well, and offer a real benefit to mobile computing. If I'm going to read my email on a mobile device, that mobile device had better have a decent screen size - most WinCE devices are sorely lacking in that department. (To be fair, so is my Palm, which is why I don't use it for email).
So in the end I decided to return the Visor I purchased, and shell out the hundred bucks to get the screen fixed on my trusty Palm. Until I've got the cash for a tablet system, I'll stick with the Palm.
While sharing several drinks with my friends during our weekly gathering at the local watering hole, we got to quizzing one another about obscure units of measurement. We couldn't for the life of us remember what a hectare was. Nor could we remember what exactly was the difference between a joule and a calorie.
Interestingly, one of our group - the most recent college graduate - did remember the bulk of the Periodic Table of the Elements.
I've been mulling this over all week. I spent sixteen years receiving an education. I'm somewhat ashamed at how little of it I actually remember. Some stuff sticks with me just because I have a better-than-average memory. Other things stick because they were major components of my college studies. I think it's fair to say, though, that I've forgotten a great deal of what I've been taught.
Why do I think that is? I place a tremendous value on knowing things: being an educated person is an important goal of mine. Self awareness and self-evaluation are constants in my life, so it's only fitting that I evaluate my education. But if I value knowledge as an independent goal, how could I have let so much of it slip away?
Maybe it's because so little of it gets used on a regular basis. I don't remember how to diagram a sentence, solve a quadratic equation, or who all the presidents were.
Maybe it's because the information age makes personal knowledge less important. If we were living in the days of the American Frontier it would be important for each individual to possess as many general life skills as possible. People knew how to do all manner of things: farming, sewing, carpentry, ad infinitum. As we slid into the Industrial Age we began to notice more and more specialization. This specialization was one specific benefit of the technology sharing that took place in larger cities. The technology allowed for a dispersal of the efforts required to produce goods. This dispersal led to less dependence on single individuals to know everything, and increased communities' interdependence.
Enter the internet. No longer do individuals even need to retain basic knowledge if it's almost instantly accessible via the 'net. The knowledge set is completely different. Maybe this is why I don't worry too much about not knowing the exact definition of an ampere or a mole, or the purpose of The Tennessee Valley Authority.
This entire essay was written in under an hour. If I were in college today, I can only imagine what my bibliographies would look like. The internet is an instant-access library of unimagined proportions. Yes, it is important that people have a certain level of basic knowledge. But as we progress more and more into the Information Age, it's important that we determine just what that base level of knowledge should consist of.
I encourage anyone reading this essay to go to Google to pursue more information about any topic. And don't just chase down the first couple of links - really scan through the hit results and see what you find. I came across a number of very interesting pieces that were tangential to this essay, but which are worth reading nonetheless. Perhaps the greatest thing about the instant-access nature of our internet library is that it affords us the time to pursue these tangential pieces of communal knowledge.