General Chat and Poodle Skirts
This is a tale of long ago … and then … even longer ago. What got me thinking about these tales of ago was Quiet: The Power of Introverts – By Susan Cain. I just finished it. That book should be required reading for management and anyone who deals with children. Being an introvert, most of it wasn’t new to me except for one thing. I have ALWAYS wondered what’s wrong with me. I often wondered if I got a handbook of psychological disorders would I find a section on overabundance of empathy.
I’ve got so much of this shit it’s ridiculous. And it’s not only with humans, oh no, I empathize the hell out of animals too. I’ve always kinda envied people who park in no parking zones, drive on the shoulders, walk in the street when there’s a sidewalk. I would just once love to be able to walk the dogs, willy-nilly with no blue poop bags at the ready. But I can’t. It’s not because I’m a good person, it’s just because I can’t stop worrying about the person who’ll be upset when they get dog poop all over their shoes. This is ridiculous. I DON’T EVEN KNOW THAT PERSON!
It is some small comfort to at least know why I’m like this now. But anyway, stories of ago. The first time this kind of behavior reared its ugly head I was in third grade, about seven or eight. Being an introvert I usually could only manage one very best friend at a time. My best friend had severe sight problems, being a kid I didn’t inquire but I knew they were really, really bad. Unfortunately this meant she wore these glasses that magnified the hell out of her eyes and bad eyesight wasn’t the only problem; they twirled around uncontrollably all the time, not in sync either. It was something you had to get used to.
So third grade. There was a tough kid in third grade. We were all scared of him. His name was KayOH. It was probably his initials but geez, a third grader with a rapper’s name? We were all scared shitless of this guy. So one day when my friend happened to look up just at the moment old K.O. was looking her way, he saw her eyes. You can imagine the rest. This is the first time (luckily it only occurs every decade or so) that I went completely bat shit crazy and demanded an apology for my friend from rapper K.O.; I was really not in my right mind.
What ensued was me getting the crap beat out of me for having the audacity to EVEN ADDRESS K.O. directly and not contact him through one of his lackeys. I have this vague memory of wondering when someone would break up the fight, yes, calling it a fight is being awfully kind to me, I know. It was really him just beating me up, with me flailing around wondering where the grownup was.
Afterwards we were sent to the Principal’s Office and I can remember thinking my life was over. I would be branded a criminal from here on out. So yeah, that’s the first time I realized this empathy crap could get me in a lot of trouble. To make me feel better about the whole thing these many years later, I’ve visually reenacted this whole thing with me and my best friend garbed in poodle skirts. We didn’t have poodle skirts, but what’s the point of writing all this yourself if you can’t change certain things to suit you. So there. Poodle skirts. I probably could’ve taken K.O. had I been dressed in a poodle skirt. The whole outcome could have been different.
So anyway, that was my first indication that I had a problem. It hasn’t gone away but hopefully I handle things a tiny bit better now. We’ll move in time to just a few years ago. The beautiful, and at the time dangerous, Isle of Quel’Danas. There was a daily called The Air Strikes Must Continue and depending on how many people were doing it, it was sometimes hard to complete in one pass.
I was busy killing someone or other and heard someone joyfully call out over general that they had managed to complete the quest in one pass, finally. They were so happy. Their enthusiasm made me happy. Everything was just happy, happy, joy, joy, until some jackass yells in general, “Big freakin’ deal, anyone can do that, I did it the first time. Big deal, fail noob.” Or words to that effect.
Ah oh. Oh no. I’m getting angry. I’m feeling empathy for enthusiast person. DON’T DO IT! DON’T YOU DARE TALK IN GENERAL! Introverts don’t talk in general chat, they only whisper occasionally. This won’t end well … oh shit.
“Congratulations! I think I’ve only managed to do that once!”
Enthusiastic person replied, “Thank you, but everyone doesn’t feel that way.”
“What do you mean, I don’t hear anything.”
Although in reality jerkwad was continuing to harass enthusiastic person.
“It must just be the wind in the leaves you hear. I wouldn’t worry about it.”
Yes, I’ve learned through the years the worst thing you can do to a troll is ignore them.
But a wondrous thing happened. Slowly at first, but then more and more, a chorus of LOLs and congratulations rang out over general. MY PEOPLE ARE HERE! THE INTROVERTS SPEAK! BEHOLD THEIR POWER!
Yeah, really, I felt like Braveheart or something. I had led my people out of silence in support of enthusiastic person! The light had triumphed!
But then it hit me. OMG! OMG! You stupid, you talked in general. Geez, logout! LOGOUT!!!! OMG! I feel faint. Yeah, I had to logout, I think I was getting the vapors or something. I had to barricade myself in a room with no phone and just read quietly for a while to recover.
But my point was, we’re out there, being really, really, quiet but we’re there. And if you ever really need us, we might even speak in general. Could happen.