Dangerous Compassions

outlier: representing the weird, alien food, the optimism of eighth grade social studies

Many years ago, far far away, I knew a lady.  She lived with her girlfriend, and I knew her from school.  She wasn’t exactly my friend, but I liked her.  She’s a lawyer now.  We’re friends on facebook.

One day, they got a phone call.  Ring ring.  This was before cell phones were even a thing.

The caller was a survey taker.  “Would you like to take a survey?” the caller asked.

“No–we don’t represent anyone!” the lady said, laughing, and hung up.

I always thought that was sad.  I thought, well, you might be weird, but maybe if you’re weird, you should speak up, because then people will know the weird exist, and life could become better for us.

But if they were a business, trying to find how to be more profitable by being more appealing, yeah, they would probably want to know facts about regular people.  Not many products would have the mainstream version and then the “lesbian writer in Santa Barbara who’s into fashion and Marvin Mudrick” version.

Then years later I was somewhere, I can’t remember where, and someone was explaining how polls and surveys work–I think it was the census: if someone said they were Mexican-American and had a Master’s degree, that result was thrown out.  It was more likely for a result to be incorrect than for a Mexican-American in California to have a Master’s degree.

I was like, holy crap!  I guess that lady long ago was right.  I’m such an outlier that I’d be more likely an error than who I actually am.

I don’t think I ever bolded, in my blog before, but there you go.  I’m the anomaly, the highly unlikely, the data that gets tossed out.

And that’s only one of the weird things about me!  I’ve got extreme politics, unusual religion, living in community, disability, how I spend my time, vegetarianism, not having kids, not driving…  I fill out forms that ask if I rent or own my home–the answer to that one is “no”–well, there will be a “live with family or friends” option.  But that’s not right either.

I like to refer to myself as an outlier introvert–off the charts, or so extreme that that result is thrown out.

It’s funny how Ming’s spacial skills are off the charts, genius.  And my language skills are the same.  But my spacial skills are horrible, and he has a language-related learning disability.

I feel sorry for him when he’s driving and I’m trying to understand a map to direct him.  I don’t know where I am, half the time.  “Do you want to pull over and look at the map?” I’ve asked him a hundred times.  I praise god that he doesn’t get mad at me or yell at me.

At least I know where north is, usually.  Before, I never even thought about something like that.  But we live in a valley with certain mountain ranges on certain sides, and I’ve gotten the hang of it.  People used to say “it’s on the west side of the street” and I would feel embarrassed, having no idea which direction was west.  So I’ve improved.

And then when he uses wrong words and jumbles everything up, and I have no idea what he’s saying, and he never writes the email he said he would because it takes him an hour to write an email, I have to be patient with that.

When does being so strange become disabling, a disability in itself?  Writing all this, I realize I should be more kind when people don’t know what to make of me.  I get frustrated, but maybe being understood is too much to ask.

If someone’s been eating McDonalds their whole life and an alien comes down from heaven and hands them a platter of some amazing alien food, doesn’t really matter if it’s the most delicious food in the universe–the human is probably going to act polite, then run away and order a Big Mac.

Comfort of the familiar, comfort with fries.  Like the crappy music that I hear when I’m out, a rehash of what’s already been done, one percent different so it’s a new song, but it has to be 100% comprehensible.

Someone told me long ago that one job of the government is to protect minorities.  We can’t vote our way to what we want, so the government needs to consider us specially–some kind of humanitarianism.

I think this was eighth grade social studies class.  That teacher was hyping the United States and all the potential.  I appreciate his optimism, but I don’t think his vision matched the way it turned out.  But he made us watch Roots and Last of the Mohicans.  He had a poster up in his classroom that said “A woman’s place is in house, and in the senate too.”  Thank you, Mr Briody.

Unrelatedly, this is a song I like that could be considered a Halloween song.  I like “wiping their shoulders from the earth.”  But “do you know the ghost community?” is great too.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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