“Mrs. Dean” affectionately calls me an alien. While I don’t come from another planet, this attribution seems figuratively true. Do I lack some mental organ that others possess, one that supplies certain kinds of feelings? Or do I possess an extra one that suppresses or surpasses these feelings? I go about under the impression that I don’t share with people the same feelings about lots of things. I wonder if they really feel what they seem to, or if they are also alienated but go through the motions to fit in with the groupthink.

Sports. I don’t express opinions about sports, so people often infer that I hate them. Certainly, I hate participating in them, unless drinking beer and throwing darts is a sport. My family didn’t watch or listen to them, so I never bonded with them when young, and I was picked on by the jocks, never befriending anybody to whom sports was important, never learning the rules of the games I endured in PE class. I can’t participate convincingly in sports conversations, and there is little to be gained by relating my a-sportic upbringing. Simply walking away is rude and attracts attenion. A lose-lose-lose situation. One reason I dread human interaction is the probability that said interaction will drift into sports talk and thus unwelcome awkwardness.

Religion. Growing up, my family took their Christianity relatively seriously. I went along and tried to believe and participate honestly. I was confirmed. I enjoyed singing and was in the choir. One of my Seattle aunts was quite religious and I enjoyed going with her to church a couple of times when I visited. But when I was no longer required to attend church weekly, I stopped. Since moving away for college I only go for weddings and funerals, and to defer unpleasant family conversations. I am aware of various atheism related societal trends, but as with other “movements” I’ve become associated with, they seem to attract performative toxicity adherents, and I have enough bullshit to fend off in my other pursuits.

Cars. For safely getting from point A to point B, I approve of cars. I have owned several and been glad of it. However, any major possession is going to be a status symbol whether or not the possessor wants it to be, just because other people see them possessing it, prompting a preening/primping response in many people that sprains my eye-rolling muscles. Beyond keeping it in safe and inoffensive running order, I have no interest in my car’s status symbology. As with sports I cannot discuss cars. I cannot contain my impression of them as a vile public nuisance, again leading to awkwardness and social trepidation.

Books, Movies, Music, TV. I have a rich inner life. I am privileged that my “job” (when I have lately been employed) is essentially what I have chosen as my life’s work, and so need little in the way of “escape”. I grew up on science fiction and fantasy, and still mostly read that. After a desert of appealing works from the late 80’s to the early 00’s, I bathe in an oasis of excellent authors. I rarely enjoy popular entertainments and don’t seek them out, although I usually enjoy Marvel superhero movies (evidently Marvel has figured out how to take nerds like me back in time to (false-memory?) fond youthful memories). There are some TV shows that I enjoy watching with Mrs. Dean, perhaps with some popcorn and a gourmet sarsaparilla, but I rarely seek them out myself. I guess the only time I don’t feel alienated is when I am enjoying times with friends and family, who either share much of my affect or at least embrace it.

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