Monday, April 21, 2008

Doing things unconventionally.

A friend once said to me, "You're so frustrating. You just try to be different every chance you get." I think they may be on to something, and I'm not sure if it's necessarily good or bad. Let me explain.

Pretty much as far back as I can remember, I've always felt like I've seen the world a little differently than most other people. I could figure out the patterns, sort through the tricks, and determine the underlying logic behind things like arithmetic drills in math class, why I wasn't popular in Grade 1, and how to throw a baseball with my non-dominant hand without "throwing like a girl." Moreover, I couldn't figure out why other people (a.) couldn't, and (b.) wouldn't want to try to do the same thing... I mean, what else do people fill their brains' down-time with?

(That being said, I can go a good long time staring blankly off into space thinking about absolutely nothing, with the wind whistling in one ear and out the other.)

I remember trying to find new ways to do things in things like assignments at school, but end up with the same result that a more conventional approach — the moral would be, I suppose, that I'd have a better understanding for how something worked if I could arrive at the right conclusion by doing things in a weird way which made sense to me (if no one else) instead of the easier and more orthodox approach, and that would be satisfying.

The more I think about it, the more this applies to my life in general. A small sample:
  • I primarily run Linux and OS X instead of Windows XP/Vista/whatever they've got out now.
  • I live in a 60-year-old apartment building instead of a newfangled condo, which I could probably afford.
  • I don't own a cell phone.
  • I use perfect-pitch to tune my guitar (which I just assumed everyone had until I was well into my 20s) instead of a tuner.
  • I prefer popping popcorn on the stove in a pot rather than nuking a package in the microwave.
  • I was in an obscure program in university which allowed me to do my physics and education degrees at the same time.
  • I did a physics degree, for chrissakes.
  • I listen to independent and hard-to-find bands and artists instead of commercial radio.
  • I fix things instead of throwing them out and getting new replacements; I've had the same clock-radio since high school and it was held together for years on the inside with Scotch tape and rolled-up bits of paper (I'm not making this up).
...the list goes on.

Most of the time this works pretty well, and while it sometimes takes me a minute to explain what I've done and why, I think I do alright. Sometimes I think I must have extremely-low-grade Asperger Syndrome, to help explain the generalized quirkiness.

On occasion, these quirks can come back to bite me in the posterior; these tend to be at times where I try to find my own way around an obstacle, but in order to succeed I really do have to "play it straight" and follow the crowd, which I'm generally not accustomed to doing. As a result, it's really frustrating to know that you can do a lot of stuff, but just not this, because you can't do it your way, and you gotta fall in line.

That's kinda what I feel like these days. I feel like I have most of my shit together, things are clicking along just fine for the majority of my day... and then, when I'm alone with my thoughts, all that invades the crevices of my brain are the failures, driving me crazy.

Don't worry about me, though. I'll be fine. My troubles are trivial, in the grand scheme of things; compared with things like Darfur and the rising worldwide prices of grain crops and the Conservatives shuffling election money around like a bunch of mobsters, I'm a whiny little bitch.

1 comment:

Middle_America said...

Dude, don't be so hard on yourself. Everyone has their quirks. ( smile ).