Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The curse of the extreme

Lying on the extreme of any curve sucks. It sucks big time, except when the curve represents the height of a population and you are near the right extreme and thus able to tower over most people in most rooms.
That extreme would be interesting, though of course I wouldnt know. In this case and this case only I am the mode and the median. Because of this I have to resort to weird shoes so that my boss and me might be able to see eye to eye on system level design issues. Contrary to my first impression, my current boss is a proper ras-gulla even though he accuses me of being brainwashed by media when he gets tired of my hyper modern views. But as far as professional conduct goes, he is a rare species due to his extremely gender blind opinions. Compared to him, the views of some of my age fellows about 'female engineers' are heinous and I shudder to think of the poor girls who might have to work with them in the future.

A word of caution is needed here:  I have personally found that I tend to accuse people of gender discrimination rather freely so I try to be cautious before passing judgements these days. Even the ras-gulla boss tried to teach me very straight forward stuff in the beginning but he was just trying to be helpful. Now the poor guy has to endure my unreserved criticism at any point where I think criticism is due and if he ever recalls me in the future he'll be mentioning me as a young lady with very strong opinions.

Anyways I have digressed as is my wont and we must return to the present.

I don't know why I can't have traits or streaks in moderation but I just can't.  I can't even blame it on my genes because my parents are two of the most normal and pragmatic people I know. I on the other hand am anything but.

A friend of mine says that she changes like a flip flop:  in a very short period of time. My u-turns,  on the other hand,  have a lower derivative but boy, are they some u-turns! Anyways this post was not about my turns and the way I change my ideas as other people change their hairstyle but it was about my abnormalities in general.

Ever since I heard a first hand account of a nasal surgery, I don't dislike my nose any longer but I absolutely loathe my social awkwardness which at 24 and a half has stopped being adorable and is just an indicator for boorish, uncultured and unsophisticated. Illiterate, too. Sophistication and elegance are traits that I would kill for but I simply don't have them:  that I why I have to resort to the study of computer architecture to fulfill my, you know, unfulfilled desires.

The PSTD that underlies my current rambling was triggered by a very traumatic event:  I was forced to attend a mandatory event where I was supposed to mingle with alien human beings. The sheer audacity of the command took my breath away but I put up with it just because it might lead to me gaining a janitorial position at my favourite place within the next ten years but the horror it turned out to be was unprecedented and unparalleled.

Socializing and networking with other humans is fine with me in theory and I can calmly discuss it in a foreign language from the safety of my bed but the practical hurdle is that I am not a social animal at all. Had Aristotle met me, he might have changed his famous opinion of mankind. My post- college days are particularly empty and I have taken to consoling myself by saying that many things I have been destined to be but a friend is not one of them.

I can and do discuss a broad spectrum of stuff with people I am comfortable with which includes my family, a couple of friends and the ras-gulla boss but when confronted by ordinary people I tend to become boring,  confused and tongue tied. If it is a large group, I can spend hours and hours sitting in a place with nary a syllable escaping my lips, desperately wishing for an escape door all the time. This party was no different:  I had started thinking that I had outgrown my social awkwardness but it seems to be the other way round. For some time I had been harbouring the notion that some of my colleagues generally give me a cold shoulder:  compared to the treatment I got over the weekend, these guys are practically members of my fan club and I'll have to strongly refrain myself from giving them huge grins and vigorous hand waves come Monday.
Emboldened by my new-found philosophy of do-anything and existence precedes being ,I even tried talking to people a couple of times. I failed miserably and pathetically.

Someone had the gall to walk up to me and remark on my quietness. He wasn't my rival but he was pretty high on the social awkwardness scale himself. Nor did he possess the sort of smile that might have made such remarks acceptable or even laudable. I listened to him talk with an obviously wandering mind, gave clear signals of discomfort and didn't bother asking his name. He didn't acknowledge me the next day.

As the only quiet observer in the room with a face that could turn milk sour, it was very clear to me that I was :

1. The most uncouth person in the hall
2. The least confident woman
3. The one least able to form new bonds and attachments
4. The only one scared out of her skin of new experiences
5. The most unfit person for moving away to a new place

These guys are said to have a psychologist who failed spectacularly in my case. My case of social awkwardness is actually so bad that my half- brother half-sahaili sibling who is more than ten years my juniour knows it, understands it, scolds me for it and gives me advice to protect me from myself. In return, I threaten to replace him by some new twelve year old with a more well behaved tongue.

I had been dreaming of going to Palo Alto for the social sophistication alone. Instead, I have been delegated to an official nerd haven. By this point, I am so tired of whining that I have stopped whining altogether. Had I possessed the energy, I could have nicely documented the various phases that one goes through after receiving an admission acceptance but somehow I am sick to the bone of my old self.

My old book-worm socially awkward to the extreme allergic to human self which also happens to be my present self essentially. It can also be safely predicted to be my future self, for today as well as for the days to come. I loathe reading and hate writing yet I am utterly incapable of doing anything else.

Still it would be nice to document it in a few words. After a very long wait, during which my time stopped while my whining could not, I got the news that there was after all someone in this big world ready to accept me as I am whereas another one did not deem me fit for them. Since I had been praying for this outcome, I spent about two months grinning 24/7. My facial muscles did a decade of work in these two months. Then the bitter reality, or rather, host of realities, caught up to me and I restarted whining day and night as usual. This might be some effect of Mir. Anyways due to some reasons I had to stop and now I am just quiet.

Farewells are poignant and a lot has been written about them in literature already. A unique perspective which I had the fortune to get this weekend was the kind of feeling you get when people all around you are saying fond goodbyes to each other, exchanging contact information, remembering past times and expressing hopes for the future.

All the while I sat, alone and quiet in a chair because I had no one to say goodbye to.

I think I managed to escape from this gathering with the least amount of human interaction of all the attendees.

And I thought I had changed. Ah, the tyranny of fortune. Once an outcast, an outcast forever.


  1. Hi Spook.. u know no one has everything. the good thing to do is to count your blessings too when you get this depressed.. and I am a lot like you in this regard, so I really know what u r talking about and I know it actually hurts but don't beat yourself. there is a place for all kinds of people in the world. Just think that despite this, no one in our circle can match your achievement.

  2. Hey, thank you for the kind words. I'll keep you informed about my social experiments you know.