Friday, May 8, 2015

No, I don't want to hear about your Day

7:15. If anything, I'm late, and I've already skipped breakfast. Normally my start time is 7:30,  but I left at 2 PM Wednesday, and have 2 hours to make up.

So I'm juggling a thermos full of coffee, an external battery charger, a pre-packed lunch, and GOK what else. Ever have a couple cups of coffee with no food? Your stomach howls, the agony hurts so bad. I feel like I might puke, I feel like I might die, I feel like my skin burns so bad I might as well be next to an open furnace.

And right when I come in, my boss calls me.

Great. Just what I need.

"ADBG, we're moving you up a band."

A promotion? Sweet! I'm not getting any extra work, I'm getting a pay increase and a bonus!

I have not told my family about this promotion. I also told my Wife once, off-hand, when the day drew to a close, dinner graced our table, and I remembered "Oh, this happened today."

On the other hand, I shared this picture with every one of my close friends:

This is funny! Because it's true! Because 4Chan! And Jezebel! And Cat Pictures!


I found this f'in hilarious. It's something I hadn't seen before (unlike all that 'May the Fourth' garbage), it's a funny connection that's also true, it's basically Jerry Seinfeld stand-up.

Unpacking the ideas behind the picture leads to interesting questions, too. No big spoilers here, but Ultron doesn't want to kill humanity just to kill humanity. Rather, it's his answer to "humanity's next step," in a twisted fashion with no respect to survival of individual humans.

They don't explain this well in the movie. Maybe I can do another piece on this sometime later.

Regardless, killing billions of humans to advance the human race is not at all uncommon in Science Fiction. Ever seen Star Trek? Widely regarded as one of the most idealistic portrayals of future humanity, with an advanced society that has eliminated poverty, impotence, and unattractiveness, Star Trek's backstory begins with WWIII wiping out most of humanity.

As if that wasn't enough, the Eugenics War starts soon after, killing hundreds of millions more humans. That's the conflict that spawns Khan.

Wiping out humanity and doing away with the old power structures proves necessary to building a new, just, stable foundation.

That idea holds interest well beyond fiction. Ever hear "The Tree of Liberty is watered the blood of tyrants and martyrs"? Same concept. Revolutions burn down old power structures, like a fall brush-fire clearing out a dead forest. The reward? A healthy forest springs from the ashes, like the United States coalescing from the power vacuum after the collapse of British rule. 

Trust me, plenty of development experts think there's something to this idea. 

So, the next time you watch Age of Ultron, keep that thought in the back of your mind. Ultron is a slightly pathological Thomas Jefferson, not an ax-crazy Joker.

What was I talking about?

Oh, right. I got promoted. Yeah, I don't really care about that.  That's why I still haven't told my parents, that's why I haven't posted it to Facebook, that's why I only mentioned it off-hand to my Wife, that's why I only mention it here to prove a point, which is that I don't give a damn about the promotion.

Well, not enough to share this news with people. It's definitely relevant to me. I want more money and I want more respect. But with people, I want to talk about other things.

Contrast that with my mother-in-law. She sends a weekly email to all her kids about the happenings at her household. Not sure why she felt a need to create a newsletter for her family, but whatever. Her last Newsletter detailed how my Father-In-Law finally found a job, and, to celebrate, they had a really big steak dinner!

I can already feel my eyes glaze over...I just really don't give a damn.

Most people like my Mother-In-Law better than my Father-In-Law. My MIL engages people in a way I rarely see. She steps close to you, she laughs at all your jokes, she responds to what you actually say and asks questions, she makes you feel good about yourself, and she always lets you finish your sentences. She looks you in the eye.

Dammit, you cannot imagine how rare that trait has become. Most times, meeting a new person, I see their eyes darting around, and their hands reaching for their pockets, as if they can read their smart phone just by touching it.

My MIL has none of that.

But, on the other hand, everything she finds interesting is so goddam boring. My FIL likes the Avengers and implements ERP software at major companies all around the world. I like talking to him a lot more whenever I visit. He's one of the few non-stop "I love talking about my job" guys that does not make me want to jump off a bridge.

He's not a hit at parties, though. He sits on the couch and stares at the television, counting the hours before he can go home.

Daily married life has been a struggle at times, mostly because my Wife takes after my Mother-In-Law. She comes home, and she loves to talk about her day.

Let me tell you what Cindy said!
Look at this email Victor sent me!
I went for a walk this morning!
We had pizza for lunch!

After maybe five minutes of this mundane nonsense, my brain falls into a smile-and-nod routine. Suppressing a vast ocean of anger, fueled by resentment and annoyance, becomes my heart's one true content.

My Wife cut down on the daily small talk significantly over the years. I remember our first Valentine's Day, which featured a 45-minute recital of an entire week's worth of grievances, salads, work-out struggles, and all other mind-polluting minutiae. Now she holds herself to a few minutes of daily run-down, and usually only after a healthy, passionate, greet me at the door, "I missed you all day" kiss.

Sometimes, she tries to be more "interesting," as she puts it. She knows I like ideas  more than mundane daily life, so she tries to talk about movies and music. This normally always backfires. She's at a training wheels phase, I'm doing Iron-Man triatholons. I have to pump my mental brakes whenever I talk to her about "ideas," which feels like repressing your true feelings. For an intellectual, holding back your ideas is like a romantic refusing to say "I love you." Really at odds with our personality.

Over the past year, my Wife and I have reduced the number of fights (all started by me, to be honest), but this has been a pretty epic internal struggle.

Some might take this post as self-congralutary. All 'round the internet, you can find tales of intellectual heavy-weights lording their high IQ and higher intellectual curiosities over meeker, more mundane minds.

"Oh, silly, stupid women! Oh what a saint I am, to tolerate my boring wife!"

That emotion? I grok that. The feeling of superiority tempts all. Rarely a day goes by when I see an error of another, smirk to myself, and know that foolishness can never befall me. If only more people were like me, the mind whispers, the world would spin right.

Oh, trust me, I get the feeling.

But that's not the emotion driving this post. 

I'm frustrated.

My Wife comes home and wants to share her day with me, because that's she makes connections, and that's how she shares love. But that doesn't work for me. These stories, she broadcasts them like an encrypted WPA Wi-Fi, but the server clicking in the back of my brain just reads all the data packets as garbage and never lets them past Port 1.

That's not communication, that's not affection, and buffering my Wife's thoughts out of existence strikes me as inhumane.

So, today, I don't write this post as the petulant INTJ snubbing a superficial world, nor a distant other-worldly Carraway observing a lack of any real insight in a world of glitz and glamor, but as the suffering soul of a person concerned with one single person, may the rest of the Good Earth be damned.

Since we're going off Meyers-Brigg here (and yes, I know the criticisms), let's see what might cause this little disconnect:

People with Introverted Feeling tend to be on a quest to figure out who they are and what they want out of life. Ideally, they would like everything they do to be in congruence with their personal believes. They want to live a life as true to themselves as possible.
The Fi user also wants to impact the world around them. They have a desire to express themselves and make an impact.
Introverted Feeling is constantly taking in the world around them. They filter it out through a lens of “good/bad” or “this is me/this isn’t me.” An introverted feeler is very self aware of who they are and their place in the world.
 You'll notice that I didn't start with the Introverted Intuition or Extroverted Thinking part. True, these tend to set young, intellectual boys apart from their female peers, but we're talking about an established relationship over the course of several years. These....erm...mundane conversations never used to bother me quite as much as they do now.

Why is that?

Because, recently, everything in my life has changed. Over the last year, the world pulls me into a deeper gravity well, beyond the American Event Horizon and into a world where obesity claims 1/3 of the population, television fills nearly every waking hour, and talk revolves around what a woman's coffee flavor says about her personality. This festering black hole grabs onto everyone and sucks all passion, life, and love to contionously fuel an unknown deity, looming larger every day. Digital Corporate Cthulu awaits anyone who is sucked into this nightmare.

I don't want to become part of this Fallen horde.

This really scares the hell out of me. I don't mind corporate life too much, I don't mind the Beta life too much, but I instinctively  fight like hell against DCC. Every drop of anger my body musters feels like another dollop of essential rocket fuel that might push me out of his orbit and back into the vast, endlessly unexplored frontier waiting for me.

That's Introverted Feeling. A developed Introverted Feeling stands against currents like an impenetrable rock forged in the deepest fires of hell.

Moving forward, it's not really enough to expect my Wife to endure the full fury of this emotional rocket. Rather, it's necessary for me to find my own interests, my own outlets, and create a life I imagine worth living. Otherwise, Introverted Feeling will continue to burn every last bit of energy it can, until my Wife and my marriage become nothing more than scorched husks, and poor ADBG finds his soul obliterated and serving some invisible ethereal neo-Satan.

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