Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Alphonse Sleevehardy is the Social Adrian Monk (Personal Entry)

***NOTE DECLASSIFIED January 1, 2009. "Alphonse" is in Iraq, so hopefully a shrapnel from an IED or mortar round will blast that chip off his shoulder. I don't wish death upon him even in such a heated theater of war, because hopefully Iraq may change him for the better. However, there's an off-chance that he may wish death upon me if he is ever to see it. However, he is not my friend on Facebook (and yes, I tried to add him once on a drunken party night) so I don't think he can see any of my notes. If he gets to read this anyhow, and I wind up dead or hurt sometime later, I urge detectives to investigate "Alphonse" first. I'll not reveal his name here, but Craig Henry (and maybe a few others who went to the GaiDai in the Spring of '08) will know who I'm talking about.***

(Right now, the note is partially complete. Moreover, only Craig can see this. Craig: You don't have permission to share this with anyone else at this time. We're to only discuss this together, out of earshot of others.)

Do you know who Alphonse Sleevehardy is? If so, how did you figure it out? If not, I'll tell whoever asks me, shortly before I leave Japan.

Alphonse seems to care the most about anything I do when it comes to the social aspects of our time here. He's more persnickety than even Gerald Good. (name changed) Alphonse also gets rubbed the wrong way more easily and about things other people wouldn't even mention about.

First encounter: Orientation Outing

For example, in early April, when we were out at a park for some kind of field-trip outing during Orientation, I genuinely thought Dietrich Humvee (name changed) was one of the Japanese or NICS students. I've never heard him speak up to that point, so I never got a chance to find out by observation that he was actually an American.

When I started talking to Dietrich like he was one of the other students, Alphonse cut in and said, in a tone indicative that he expected me to know this already, that he's actually another one of the American JASIN students, and adopted. I didn't appreciate how Alphonse sounded about this, and I don't remember exactly how I responded, but it was something like, "Well, he genuinely looked like one of the Japanese or NICS students, so how was I supposed to know? I haven't heard him talk so far either, so it's not like I could tell by his accent."

I don't remember the first part of his response, but his second part, I definitely do. "Oh, never mind about that. I'm just a hostile guy." Well, he expects everyone he meets to be TELEPATHS, doesn't he? (Probably not, but he sure seemed to that day.) I want to be one too, but some would say that would be unfair; everyone else would want telepathy too.

Second Encounter: Tiedemann's Party

I didn't know Nelson Schire (Name changed once again) from Alphonse Sleevehardy that time, so I had them switched around. I thought Alphonse was Nelson, and someone asked me to go get him, so I when I called him Nelson, he turned to take notice but with a slight frown. I told him what someone else needed, and he went to them.

I didn't think much about his frown, because he told me beforehand that he was just a "hostile guy," so I thought he was that way a lot of the time. Later, J.B. told me he was actually Alphonse, so then I wondered why he didn't say, "No, I'm Alphonse?" (Other people will usually correct them on the spot. Why didn't he? I asked him later and he said "I thought you were supposed to know by now, but something else told me to be nice at the same time." He got the wrong idea of being nice because if I don't feel offended from getting his name corrected, I assume no one else normally does either, so correcting his name for me would've been nice, too.)

Later on, Nelson asked me how old I was. (I don't remember how the conversation somehow wended its way to that question.) That put me in an uncomfortable position because I didn't feel good about being too old at this point. My instincts already knew at this time that if I told my true age but didn't meet their expectations for people my age, things would turn ugly. I told him, "How 'bout I wait 'til I'm drunk enough not to mind telling you?"

Then Alphonse, sitting down at a McDonald's table chair, said, "Wha... you're not a---..."

No one else cared but him. At least they didn't say anything, nor did they show any reaction at all like he did. Alphonse is yet ANOTHER reason why I want a "Private Messaging" feature in real life. Actually, wait, there is! I wish this had crossed my mind: What if I asked Nelson to exchange texting addresses so I could text him my response so Alphonse wouldn't overhear it? How would Nelson and the others nearby, have reacted then?

But, when I told Alphonse that I felt too old and "manning up" doesn't seem as mandatory in Japan as it is back home, so it had to be more OK for a guy to hide his age here, he said "It's not got anything to do with "manning up," and I forgot the rest of what he said.

The group got on the bus to head to Tiedemann's party. Later, I wanted to nickname the young librarian who was also at the party, "Braceface," because she looked cuter in the braces she was wearing. Also, Braceface is a cute nickname. Some may call it an insult, but a Japanese woman needn't know that, does she? I didn't think so that night. I only wanted her to think it was a cute adana. Alphonse thwarted this when he told her about it in Japanese. Despite my limited command of the language, I still knew what he was telling her, so I told her he was tadashukunai and confronted Alphonse about it, wondering whether he's really trying to ruin anything I do, and why he acts the way he does, etc. (I don't really remember, having been over two months.)

Later on, he said that I didn't "catch" his non-verbal signs back at the McDonald's. When he was looking away, that meant he was "uncomfortable" and wanted me to stop talking. But I didn't catch that at all, so he wanted to punch me then, but held back.

A tangent: Rage-blindness

Even though I really didn't catch it at that time, when I analyze the situation, "uncomfortable" is a euphemism (in this context) for being blinded by one's own rage. ANYONE WHO IS RAGE-BLIND REFUSES TO LISTEN TO REASON, AND THAT IS NOT CONSTRUCTIVE IN THE LEAST. THAT HELPS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, AND ONLY SERVES TO HURT MORE.

If I see a sign of rage-blindness from now on, that'll only motivate me to continue even harder until reason is brought to them. (Reason usually serves to lighten tensions, have both sides of the story heard and perhaps cause things to calm down, and other benefits. You know the rest.) This isn't their super-ego acting, being rage-blind is their "id." (Not identification; wasn't Psychology a required course at YOUR college?) Rage-blindness is an irrational process that must be abandoned.

3rd Encounter: Tall Ship Festival

Here was yet another situation when Alphonse was the ONLY one who cared about what I was doing. (In analog: Adrian Monk is often the only one who cares about any minute detail amiss. No one else would give these things a second thought.)

I was sitting with a group of mostly Japanese or NICS students, listening to whatever the conversation was. I feel comfortable beiing around East Asian people more, because they give off some kind of special aura that I react well to, so that's why I wanted to sit with them.

Alphonse told me that Gerald was looking for me, and I told him I couldn't see him where I was so I'll just let him come to me.

Then while I wasn't looking, Alphonse pushed T.C.'s bike down (which was next to me) and sprinted back to where he was sitting. Then he told me that T.C. gets very angry at people who knock over his bike so I'd better run before he sees me! I didn't buy that; I knew T.C. well enough at this point to know he has a better disposition than that, and even Alphonse's. I told him that I knew T.C. wasn't like that and I felt he was making that up for whatever weird reason there was.

Alphonse took me a little bit away and asked what was bugging me lately. I told him and asked how did he know something was bugging me. He said I was quiet and was just watching people talk. He demonstrated by overtly staring at one of the guys in the group, which was a clear exaggeration. When I told him how that was exaggerated, he said he has to use "extreme examples" because I didn't pick up the other hints he gave. He also said when he looks a bit down, he'll be quiet and show it; other people will know. I just seemed creepy when quiet so I asked him if I could come back when I felt more talkative and he affirmed that.


He's also persnickety (don't like to use "anal-retentive," but is a synonym) like Adrian Monk in another trivial example here:

I wear a stopwatch every day because they last longer than wristwatches. Wristwatches have broken on me too many times so I've resorted to stopwatches and they've served me wonderfully ever since.

Alphonse seems to be the ONLY guy who cares about my wearing a stopwatch. He thinks that's weird but apparently nobody else thinks so. Monk catches small details that look out of place which other people wouldn't give a millisecond's notice to.

Adrian Monk is persnickety in the physical world- he cares too much about anything that's physically out of place or just... wrong, somehow.

Alphonse Sleevehardy is the same, but for the social world.

I wonder how they'd get along if they met each other. (No, not Tony Shalhoub, but while he's in the character of Adrian Monk?)

This is the main site for the TV show "Monk:" http://www.usanetwork.com/series/monk/

There are more encounters but I don't think I'll add them at this time...

(To be continued?)

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