Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I have to play "Social Feng Shui" to intermingle harmoniously. (Personal Entry)


That's a neologism- "Social Feng Shui." I doubt anyone else ever coined this phrase so I hereby am the one who has.

You are familiar with Feng Shui, right? Everything has to be arranged in exactly the perfect positions in order for this unseen energy to create the right harmony and other desired results. If even one thing is a little off, that causes everything else not to work. So intricate, precise, and time-consuming to arrange.

Many Parallels

Conversational interaction does have a few parallels. No, not few; Many. We all have to do EVERYTHING right when talking to somebody. On the other hand, I have to keep track of EVERYTHING I do when socializing, even the actions you don't even THINK about while you interact. Otherwise, someone will notice something screwy about me.

For others, that's no problem; they do many things they don't think about when intermingling with others, correctly. These range from body gestures, arm and hand movements, eye contact/movements, tone and speed of their talk, cadence, and other forms of "delivery." (And I'm starting to hate that word in the context OTHER than DHL, UPS, FedEx, other couriers, and Pizza. {<---The only delivery I love! Yum!}

If ALL of these are done right, then a conversation goes better in the meantime.

Example 1

When I speak, namely to Garrett, he leans awkwardly to the left or right. He appears to do that on purpose, mainly because he is. He told me beforehand that he'd do this awkward lean anytime I did. Even though that annoys me, I'll still permit him to because that shows me I need to give off a normal body posture when speaking.

I still have lingering sub-thoughts that he's one of the minority that notices this because no one else seems to. No one else appears to care that I lean when I do. Though Garrett says that's because they're projecting a positive "tatemae" at me and will stay polite and on whatever the topic is. And will probably get out of there as soon as they can.

I usually don't think of my body posture while interacting until someone points it out. I shouldn't because no one else seems to when they interact. But now that I have to keep track of this, that's an additional action to keep track of.

Example 2

So I hald... halt, in mid-sentence like William Shatner. Guess who told me this? Garrett again. I deliberately left my original spelling of "halt" the way I typed it first as it is to prove a similar point.

He says at least Shatner sounds confident. Now I introspected why I have to halt in mid-sentence. If I try to talk too fast (or normal speed to the most of the rest of you) while at a consistent pace, I will not think of the words fast enough.

Let me say an example sentence by myself: "Kiyapping in Karate builds self-confidence but will it help get your words straight... no, I mean, not stop, in mid-sentence?" That is what I said verbally when actively attempting to keep a consistent pace in my speech. (What I really meant to say was, "Kiyapping in Karate builds self-confidence but will it also help you maintain a constant pace throughout your sentence?")

You see, I have to stop for 1/2 a second to a full second in order to make sure the words I'm about to say will come out right in the 2nd half of the sentence. Even then, that is not guaranteed. On the last paragraph, the sentence I really meant to say took some dwelling for over a minute to form.

What my disadvantage is is I often cannot think of the most perfect sentence/way to put a point until long after I was supposed to say it. Realtime, improvised conversation has never been a strong-point of mine. As you could see on my notes, I type more elaborately and in a different way than I speak. You never notice tones, cadences, delivery, nor the speed of my speech because it's typed. They're all out the window when a keyboard is used instead of the larynx.

Another significant reason is that typing a Note isn't a realtime task, like talking face-to-face. I can think and mentally plan ahead what I'm about to type, and go back to any sentence I have doubts on and either amend, remove, or revise it. I cannot in a conversation, even when I think of a better way to put what I just said a few seconds after I say it.

Example 3

Hand and arm gestures

Pretty soon, I'll have to keep track of too many actions in a conversation, and therefore feel like I'm managing too much just to converse without giving people the wrong impressions of me. That'll make me think social interaction isn't a fun pursuit after all, will it?

Most of the time, people don't seem to care about my hand and arm gestures, but then again, they're probably projecting a good tatemae and keeping their opinions about my gestures to themselves.

When I was talking to Garrett one day a few minutes before one of his classes in that classroom, he told me to keep my arms still because my gestures were annoying the he(ck) out of him. At the same time, he told me not to worry so much. To that I told him, "I'd not worry so much if people didn't give me anything to worry about in the first place. And with you telling me about the gestures, I now have one more thing to worry about." At least he apologized for that. Then he told me... I don't remember what exactly he told me next but it was something along the lines of "But be sure your gestures don't give off the wrong signals."

Example 4

Eye contact

At least I've known for a while now that it's essential to maintain eye contact. If I look down or to the sides or anywhere else, I will make them think I feel intimidated, or that s/he and their topic doesn't interest me. Moreover, some girls will think anyone who looks down while speaking to them, are gazing where they shouldn't.

So far, Garrett never mentioned anything pertaining to eye contact so I know I'm better-seasoned in this area.

André Sleevehardy (name changed) did tell me one time that when he thought something was wrong about me not wanting to tell my age, he looked away when I told him my side of the story. He said that when he looked away, that's 'cause he felt uncomfortable but I completely missed that and kept going.

I don't bow to rage-blindness

Actually, there's something called "being blinded by one's own rage." He didn't want to listen to reason at that moment. If he understood my situation better, he'd not mind so much. (Usually that's the case in other situations, but not always. However, the effort is worth it.) At that time, I felt a compelling to give my reason and stop at nothing to do so. I knew subconsciously that if he didn't know the real reason for not telling my age when asked, he would assume something worse and subsequently treat the situation worse.

Another statement worth mentioning is that I DON'T BOW TO RAGE-BLINDNESS. That's because when they're blinded by their rage, they almost always assume a worse reason than it really is. No one wants that, and I don't want that more than most everyone else perhaps. That's why I want them to know the truth, especially when it's better than what they think. Even if continuing with telling the reason in spite of their discomfort is risky, it's well-worth the risk. What IS a safer way of getting it through to them, anyway?? I'm open to ideas here.


So sometimes, I don't know whether one's getting uncomfortable at all, probably because they're either too subtle, or they manage to hide it completely. But don't start being overt, obvious, and therefore cruel. Kindly tell me about any of the other subtle signs you've observed me miss. It helps to know them all so I can make less social mistakes in the future.

About the other body languages I need to do right in order to achieve social harmony- that's a lot to keep track of but persistent practice makes persistent perfection. (Should I just say "persistent perfect" even though that grammatically sounds wrong?)

The most plausible explanation about not having caught up in getting the hang of "Social Feng Shui" is having had a pre-existing condition for a long time. (That itself is too personal to mention here.) Therefore, that becomes yet another reason added to a long list of reasons why I want to start all over again in a rejuvenated body. (But that topic is for another note.) In the meantime, I can just "live and learn."

If I hear remarks of certain progress from Garrett and anyone else close to me here, you know how I'll feel, and what all will happen next.

ADDENDUM: Reply to Garrett - 6-16-2008

(...Or to anyone that can forward this to Garrett in the likely case he doesn't come back to read this addendum.)

Why didn't you say this after correctly guessing what my condition was at the Seiyu McD's? Remember the day you introduced me to the Mormon missionaries & bought me dinner on the way to their church? If you had guessed that I had 아스퍼거 증후군, couldn't you have said the same thing then?

You see, telling someone about my 아스퍼거 증후군 feels like cutting a bomb wire. I either disarm or explode it. Telling my condition to Robert Hyde was like disarming the bomb; he said great things about it & told me "that's a beautiful disease." I agree; many luminaries ranging from Thomas Edison & Bill Gates to Woody Allen & Satoshi Tajiri have / are believed to have 아스퍼거 증후군. (There are many lists of luminaries w/ 아스퍼거 증후군 online.)

I only told Robert about my 아스퍼거 증후군 in the first place because I was drunk enough that night not to worry about the outcome. When I'm sober, I would want a way to determine whether someone will "disarm or explode" from telling them about it before I do, but AFAIK, that may be impossible.

It appears that merely alluding to 아스퍼거 증후군 was the "straw that broke your back." (Not calling you a camel, & I may be changing metaphors here, but that doesn't matter.) In this note, if I had openly disclosed what my condition was, would you have responded differently?

(This note is only viewable to the GaiDai & anyone on the Japan network.)

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