I am convinced that if you could graph out the central characteristics and motivations of most human beings, the absolutely essential elements of wanting to love and be loved, to have a roof over one's head, clothes on one's back, food on the table, and wanting these things for our families, friends, communities and the nation (with varying degrees of importance), are pretty well much common to everyone. I don't think that when it comes to the absolute basic elements which make us human and define our humanity, that we differ that much at all.
When it comes to layering things like character traits, abilities and expectations, we start to differ wildly. Once you start layering things on top of all that like personal preferences, tastes, interests, what we find entertaining, challenging, empowering, and fulfilling, then although you might find broad trends and correlations, you're now looking at very fuzzy things with overlap which all might broadly look sort of similar but are actually all individual points of data and more importantly, all individual people who are different.
And then you get one data point in a sea which is just plain weird. It is like watching a television screen and noticing that one green pixel in a sea of red, and no matter what the picture is, it's still weird. Mostly you can ignore it but sometimes you wonder what's going on. It's even weirder when know that you are the pixel or the odd data point in question because even though you can give completely sensible answers to any someone's questions, it's like your very existence has somehow interfered with the forces of nature.
I am that pixel.
Reasonably often we get clients at work who drop off their tax returns and will want to have a chat. That's normal for normal people because that's what normal people do. Don't worry, I am not so much of an abhoration that I think that having a chat is strange. See my opening paragraph - people want to love and be loved; they also have a need for validation, I think that's true for all of us in the many environments and conditions that we find ourselves in, the professional realm of commerce included, on both sides of the interaction.
On Tuesday though, we had some clients talking about how they'd been to Noumea and invariably one of them told me that I would totally love it and wanted to press some questions, most of which I couldn't really answer since they were outside any field of my experience and I was given a series of looks as though I was some kind of Epsilon semi-moron until finally I said "that's all right, I don't really like the beach; I much prefer the cold". I explained that I would really love to be in a place that was cold in the winter, and that sent the conversation off on another tangent which was fine but the nature of how we got there kind of left me in a place where I didn't want to be put on the spot like that.
This pixel was blinking green in a sea of red.
Of course I'm made aware of issues like class and economic means on an almost daily basis due to the fact that that is that is the nature of my job and so I don't hold that against people because I think that there is a massive degree of randomness in the world (or at least what seems like randomness because we can not possibly conceive of all the factors that go together) which determines where we happen to be in life, but what continually amazes me is almost a blind refusal of people to imagine others complexly, and that all of us are a mass of contradiction and confusion when it comes to a great deal many things.
The unspoken truth which I can't explain when having a short chat is that I utterly despise the beach. It exists as a transitory space with death by drowning on one side and either the most expensive shops in the world on the other, or perhaps bushland or carparks on the other. I always have hated the beach. Even as a teenager when we'd go camping with various youth type things, the beach meant a day of slowly being sunburnt and them being assaulted by ten million pin pricks of sand whenever the wind picked up, or trying to avoid people's attempts to get me to go into the big blue wobbly death by drowning device. I have successfully navigated the waters of life to this point, by making sure that I have not drowned in them.
As far as I'm concerned, the only reason that summer exists is for the playing of cricket, and staying up late into the evening; it does not exist for the purpose of going to the beach. The beach serves no purpose as far as I'm concerned, outside the playing of beach cricket; which is clearly inferior as it comes with a qualifier (the same thing can be said for T20 Cricket which comes with an arguably more stupid qualifier). I have no need of a house by the sea or near the beach because I have no need to go there, ever; except for the purchase of fish and chips. Okay, I will admit that the sea is useful, but that still doesn't mean that I want to get in it.
But you can't explain any of this without looking like a total weirdo, or without someone else taking it to mean that you're judging them, when in actual fact they are perfectly entitled to like what they like; without any justification whatsoever. They just notice that this pixel is blinking green in a sea of red and they can't cope.
I've seen these things play out again and again. It can be pop culture items and ephemera which I have no desire to care about but can pass off more easily now as culture fractures into tiny microfragments, it can be matters of class which I can outplay by simply being polite because when you get some really nasty people (which tends to happen if people know from the outset that they're simply richer than you) it really confuses them when you try to serve them nicely, and it really really freaks people out if someone wants to get you to agree with their politics and you have a position so alien to them that they can not understand it at all.
I don't care about the passing parade of music, film, television and soap stars, I lack the ability to burn money on international travel like many of my clients do, I like watching silent films and have a personal cultural zero date which is well before my lifetime and seemingly before the personal cultural zeroes of many of the people that I come in contact with. I have long passed the point where I worry and what people think of me but internally I'm kind of furious that people expect me to be someone else, when they clearly have no care about who or what I am either. There is virtually nothing that so many of these people can do to me and I think that it messes with their heads when I out polite people, when I out culture them and when I tell them that I live in a place in the unknown western suburbs, that they assume is full of crime, drugs, and disorder.
When the pixel blinks green in a sea of red, you can watch the red pixels begin to warp.
I say this by way of metaphor because I'm red-green colourblind. I am perfectly aware that I don't see the world in the same way as everyone else does. I see some things as being exactly the same when other people see them as being wildly different. To take this to the logical conclusion of the metaphor, I am perfectly aware that I don't see the world in the same way as other people do.
I am that pixel that blinks green among the red and I've long since passed the point where I care about trying to blink red. Not that I could do it anyway because I know that I am that one data point which simply doesn't belong anywhere. I don't need to be told. The world can keep on being red; I'll keep on blinking green.