Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rare moments of social normalcy

I turned 23 on October 23, 2004 and somehow I got the idea to make a list of 23 things I wanted to do while I was 23. That list, and especially #23: take a big risk, was the start of the crazy and ridiculous adventure that has lead me to where I am today. At the time, I was painfully awkward and shy (and arguably still am, to some extent), so the biggest risk I could think of was to move in with strangers. I had no qualms about skydiving, riding in a hot air balloon or the other random craziness on the list, but moving in with people I had never met scared the crap out of me. So of course, it turned out to be one of the best things I had ever done. Ok, so there were inevitably some sucktastic moments. Life isn't all unicorns and ice cream cake. But overall, the awesome far outweighed the awful. The whole experience forever shaped my life philosophy. And I still keep an informal and ever-expanding list of things I want to do, time and money permitting.

I was never one of those people who simply "knew" they wanted to be a doctor or lawyer or actor or whatever. I never had a clear vision of my future. And honestly, I still have no idea where I'm going or what I'm doing. But I realized that I wanted to have a life full of new experiences, challenges and travels, and once I set about trying to make that happen, my life took off in unexpectedly hilarious and infinitely amazing ways.

Incidentally, it was Jeff, one of the strangers I ended up moving in with, and then living with for 4 years after that, who gave me the nickname Robot. Shortly after I moved in, Jeff said he had never seen me eat anything besides ice cream and I asked so many questions (several of which have become infamous, including "What is in quiche?" and "How much is the tuition at Hogwarts?") that he thought I was a robot  from space, fueled by sugar and sent here to learn about humans. All of Jeff's friends started calling me Robot, and some didn't even know my real name for a long time. I thought it was hilarious.

It seemed oddly appropriate. I have always felt out of the loop when it comes to many human social behaviors. I don't drink or smoke or belong to any religious group. I don't eat meat or fish (Jeremy is a vegetarian and after we started dating 3 years ago, I naturally ate less meat, found I didn't miss it, and later gave it up completely). I may never get married and I don't want to have kids. I don't understand why anyone would want to ban gay marriage or go to war or wear socks with sandals. So basically, I fall outside of many social norms and, as a result, I am used to getting a lot of "are you some kind of robot?" looks when such topics come up in conversation. I will happily come to your wedding and listen to stories about your children while you eat a steak wrapped in bacon and drink beer, it's just that none of it appeals to me personally.

But don't worry, I'm not one of those robots Sam Waterston warned about on SNL...

"Robots are everywhere, and they eat old people's medicine for fuel. Well, now there's a company that offers coverage against the unfortunate event of a robot attack, with Old Glory Insurance. You need to feel safe. And that's harder and harder to do nowadays, because robots may strike at any time. And when they grab you with those metal claws, you can't break free, because they're made of metal, and robots are strong."

Still, I need to keep working on reducing my social awkwardness.

Also, I need to stop reading books about ultramarathoners. My brain is getting ideas that my body can't accomplish.
Lyric of the moment: "Binary solo! 00000010000001100000011100001111..."

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