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What is so different about online and offline?


Entry 04/28/2012 09:56:05 PM – Mentat 643

…Listen, writers… When they’re alone, they’re prophetic. When they’re with people, they’re pathetic. They’re just… too in their heads…” – Ernie (Is it Just Me? (2010))

I swear at the moment, I want to throttle the life out of my roommate. He just says some shit that frustrates the absolute piss out of me that I’m finding once again my impatience is building up. Seriously the man is completely bloody delusional. For example. This afternoon he says to me, “I’m thinking about soliciting…” I stopped listening at this point and waited for him to get to the point. He has this habit of rambling on in some grandiose fashion trying to hook me with his enthusiasm. I’ve told him time and again that I can’t be hooked with this, so I just let him go on until the point’s made. About three minutes later, the point was, “…getting other artists to paint something for the wing at the hospital that is dedicated to my late niece.” Another five minutes goes on about what he can do to get it done and, well, it gets confusing at about this point because I can’t tell whether he’s trying to sell the thought of him painting a painting for it, or getting someone else to do it. Another couple of minutes pass and I’m bored with the whole presentation because it’s getting into even more familiar territory — which are stories that have absolutely and positively nothing to do with the presentation.

I decided to nip it in the bud and say, “seriously, don’t you think you have enough things in the fire right now to be wanting to take on another project?”

“You’re right,” he starts, “but…”

I sighed and cut him off at this point saying, “and it’s that but that tells me you didn’t listen to a word I said. I’m going to go to my room right now, but think really carefully what it is you should be working on, like paying bills and perhaps making money instead of taking on another volunteer project that won’t give you a cent.”

Fast forward a couple of hours. It’s the last minute rush out of the house for him to picking up cat litter (which is already in bad need of being changed), and he comes back to the house making all sorts of noise about how his phone has hundreds of numbers of women that he doesn’t have any idea who they are.

Yes, that’s really charming Casanova, I’m thinking to myself, but seriously not my problem.

He’s about to go on and on about this, and I decide to try to cut him off again because this is stories I don’t need to hear about and almost couldn’t get a word in edgewise because he’s trying to show off either his prowess or his senility (in self-depreciating humor), but got pissed enough to cut him off by saying, “you know there’s this wonderful feature about you iPhone,” I said with a sneer, “and smart-phones on the whole that allows you to keep notes on why that number’s been added to the address book. Perhaps it’s time for you to start using it.

Add another half hour or so after he’s come home, little propped up against the doorframe to the den, where he makes a comment about his friend Carl not ever seeing any lights in the house when he goes by.

First off, Mark’s room never has a light on in it. The only time he’s ever in his room is to pass out.

Second, up until yesterday, I always had a small desk light on at night so I don’t go through worse eye-strain and it’s enough to be seen outside: I should know, I’ve walked by the house in the evening on the way to the market to picking up necessities that I forgot to pick up earlier.

I comment that Carl can’t see the back of the house where the lights are always on.

“I like the light,” Mark says with an almost smirk on his face.

Oh yes, that smirk gets me riled.. I snap at him, “Why don’t you go to bed like a normal person and perhaps you’ll see more of the sunlight, instead of dragging your ass to bed at 6 in the morning drunk out of your head, and having slept in the den with all the lights on… Or how about this. You pay the bills that you owe and on time and then maybe I won’t ride your ass about the lights all the time.”

I stormed into my room to find something to watch and to cool off. Tomorrow — well.. Tomorrow I’m going to deal with those overdue bills, and have a serious talk about him either going to detox or getting his ass together because well… I’m finding this reoccurring pattern of delusional, grandiose dreams and sitting up/passing out/drinking while he’s awake and doing positively nothing to be the straw that broke the camel’s back…

… And broke it did. I’m sitting here watching lights staying on since I started this journal entry while he’s sitting there, smoking, watching television and watching status messages on Facebook… I’ve had it… I blew up. I’m seriously sick of his shit. I’ve given him one week to pony up and pay his outstanding debt. I told him that he’s not a functioning alcoholic, he’s just an alcoholic and that he doesn’t realize just how close to being homeless he truly is. And I know what homeless looks like.

Heh… Not the direction I wanted to go with this journal entry at all. I had so many other ideas that I wanted to be working on/chatting about. Instead I’m dealing with anger and rage over the fact that the dickhead’s been abusing my better nature for entirely too long. Doesn’t clean… doesn’t pick up after himself until the rooms are absolute pigsties. Bathroom is vile, kitchen is vile, forget about the two rooms that he squats in… I’ve seen trailers in Georgia that were in better shape. Bills unpaid for months at a time and instead getting grandiose stories that… that are pipe dreams.. Hell, his “job” has been a pipe dream since January. *eye roll*

*sighs* Everything is so last second for him. He only does something if it involves loss and/or eviction… I’ve had it… One week.

I need to sleep… But, at the moment I’m so freaking torqued at the moment… I’m probably not going to be getting sleep for a couple of more hours yet… At least until the adrenaline wears off. So that means, I might actually cover some of what I’m thinking.. If I don’t explode in the process… again.

The thing that I’ve been thinking about the last couple of days covers the things people say and yet.. Are almost hypocritical approach people have to things. For example…

Internet dating just doesn’t work…

Really? And just how successful are relationships in real life again? Statistically speaking, relationships don’t seem to last any more or less in this day and age be they online or off. Hell, the divorce rate in the United States alone has been hovering around 1.2 million/year for the last decade alone. And that’s tracked because it involves a marriage certificate recognized by the state they were issued in (as well as being separated by). You can certainly imagine just how quickly it is for people just living together.

You can’t read body language when chatting with someone online

I have been working on understanding nuance, inflection, tone and body language for the better portion of 30 years and honestly? While I’m in no way a “master” of the skill, I can admit that I’m pretty damned good about reading anything from the average to the introverted and even the asocial. And what gets me is I’ve watched people that say they’re good at it, completely and utterly miss the mark in reading anyone other than the most grossly extroverted that are mapping it out on construction paper and massive markers.

You can’t read a person’s intent in writing

According to the OED, English has more than 218,000 words (active and obsolete) and that’s just English. If you factor in the words that have been borrowed and used actively from other languages as well as new words being added to describe various technology, you’re looking at over a million. Add in regional accents, local and family colloquialisms and idioms and well, as one rather amusing song from the 80s once said, “…it’s amazing we communicate at all…”

People lie online all the time.

People lie in real life. The only difference is that sometimes it takes time for someone to get caught online. I’ve covered this before and that entry I still stand by when it comes to core personalities — even for the pathological liar. Sure it’s human nature to embellish the truth — particularly when they’re trying to impress someone — the thing is though, not everyone is some raving pathological liar. The averages are simply against it being everyone.

People can cheat on you much easier online

Ha! Like liars, cheaters are in real life too. It’s either in their nature, or it’s not. And the averages are also against everyone being a cheater.

The Internet makes it so much easier to hook up and have one-nighters with people.

Strange that. I’ve been online 23 years now, and let me tell you — whoever came up with this idea is clearly living in Hollywood writing stories for television that make up this pipe dream (and smoking some serious shit that’s messing up their sanity). I mean, sure there are some that are using the internet to make arrangements for some one-night stand (and yes, cyber) somewhere — the vast majority of people out there aren’t. In the on-again-off-again attempts at socializing in that amount of time, I can tell you that a vast amount of people I’ve talked with about their online experiences, a very small percentage of them actually admit to using the Internet for sex and hook-ups. A lot more talk about how lucky they are, but when in a one-on-one you get to learn that it’s just show because it’s the male ego talking and trying to save face.

It’s just words on your computer screen.

I know I’ve covered this one before as well (in a different entry), so I’ll cover it again. Those words on your screen are coming from someone else here on the planet. However, another thing that I haven’t covered on the subject is one that’s sort of annoyed me since about 1997 or so: how the media (television, news, movies, etc.) and social word of mouth has reinforced that the internet is inhuman. It’s only inhuman because people don’t want to see beyond the end of their nose and realize that the internet is as much as a community as anywhere else: clubs, dance halls, pubs, coffee houses, etc. Usenet was the wild west, sure — but then again it had been for as long as I remembered it, yet I remember vividly before then people online were pretty much civil and even apologetic when chatting one-on-one. Then practically overnight, it changed… Like the dark clouds that come before storms. And it’s been like that since. And the bottom line is that, the Internet is not inhuman as it takes an incredible about of humans to form the virtual community that is it. It’s only made inhuman because people want to forget that and see it all as just words on their computer screen.

*takes a deep breath* In spite of all the ways that things are damned online… How inhuman and inhumane some people tend to act online, in spire of negativity that can be found and stumbled upon, in spite of the way people act offline; the question that comes to my mind is, “In a world that seems to be hell bent at rushing here and there (and everywhere), why do friendships and especially relationships have to be rushed as well?”

I know I’m beating this particular horse dead and undead… Yet there’s something to be said about taking one’s time. Think about it. The way that we learn to relate to someone is first, we take in that person’s idiosyncrasies, the way that they express themselves and even the dysfunction associated with growing up and life, and see whether we have something in common with them. After that, it’s a combination of whether we find those qualities endearing — and yes, this is the cynic and realist speaking — whether we’ll find those qualities tolerable to live with. Ultimately though — we do this based exclusively on our personal understanding of the world around us.

It’s all internal. Few of us in the world are born truly empathic (in the psionic sense), and no one I’ve ever met has truly been able to demonstrate telepathy. So why is it so hard to use — say a written medium — to learn about someone without the emotional and mental confusion in a face to face… Especially when you consider few people are capable of staying impersonal and impartial enough to actually reading another person as well as some say they think they can.

[Last Edited: 04/30/2012 11:15:54 AM]

I finally crashed Saturday night around 3’ish AM and woke up entirely too early from shoulder pain. I pinched a nerve somewhere around my left shoulder or left elbow and when I move in a specific way I get all sorts of nerve tingling near to my elbow, down my forearm and sometimes around my wrist. Doesn’t seem to be CTS at all, as I don’t have any tingling in my hands or fingers at all. Not sure whether it’s been the way that I’ve been sitting at the desk at home (which is often different than how I sit when I’m at work), whether I’ve been sleeping dead weight on my left shoulder, or a combination of the two. Knowing me, it’ll pass in about a week to week and a half and everything will be back to normal. If not, it looks as though I’m going to be spending my time at a doctor’s office to find out what’s wrong and how to take care of it.

So, I also woke up yesterday morning in a piss and vinegar mood… Mostly because of the bullshit from Saturday night with Mark, some of it because of what I’ve been writing about. So I took the day out, played games and caught up on my show queue and went looking for a couple of video’s to pass the time with. The other part was how to meet people online that are willing to take their time to learn someone. Sitting here now and having my first cup of coffee, one of the motivating factors about taking the time to learn also involves one of the toughest elements of an online friendship/relations: distance.

Distance has always been one of the most difficult aspects of friendships and even relationships. And while it can work out in the end, the odds of it working out are pretty damned slim.

*sigh* But I’m avoiding an issue by distracting it with the simple and the obvious. It’s not the distance from my doorstep to theirs that’s the problem. It’s the distance I often feel even when in close proximity to another human being. I look at myself in the mirror and can often see that distance. I don’t like the games people play when it comes to getting to know someone. While I can understand the barriers to protect one’s heart and feelings — those barrier should be so… conventional. So cookie cutter cut-out. So cloned that other than physical appearance, everything else is can be seen from person to person to person.

It’s this want for sameness that completely and utterly alienates me; making me feel so distant from the rest of humanity. I’ve never been one for being the same as everyone else. I appreciate and enjoy my passion (even when it gets the best of me) and express it when I’m happy, sad, mad, furious and especially in love. To utterly subdue passions and emotions is much like a passage from the Bible that goes, “No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.” (And no, I didn’t go up in flames quoting the New Testament. Surprising, huh?)

Another problem that contributes to the distance is the fact that I have always been on that I’ve been on the outside looking in. While it has always allowed me a certain amount of pleasure in being able to see things that most people don’t catch unless they’re really trying, on the other, well… because of this I often feel as though I’m standing in another universe and have to wait patiently for someone to get to where I call home.

Anyway, I think I’ve covered all that I can at the moment as I feel like I’ve been floundering the last couple of days on this. I’ll probably return to this in the near future, but at the moment I’m done. I think I’ll go watch a short I didn’t expect to find (Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness) and then head to bed. Until the next time.

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