Thursday, February 21, 2013

Meeting People

I had a really happy day today. I met and talked with so many people.

First off, I went for a university fair at Nanyang Junior College with Jasmine and Naz. I'd been walking past it for years on my way to Boey's house and I had absolutely no idea that it was NYJC, until today. Life is weird sometimes.

Anyway. I had a lot of fun talking to people about my school, and then rambling on about my experiences with the occasional joke or funny anecdote. I got the chance to entertain a reasonably-large audience and also a couple of questions, which I thought was really nice.

I had lunch with Jasmine, who again refused to let me pay. There is an important life lesson here, Future Me; I can't write it out, but it would do you good to remember, so I'm writing about it without actually writing it. If you need help remembering, Future Me, it's not about not paying, but that other thing. Stare out the window for a while, it'll come to you. I hope.

I got back to the office just in time to bring some people out on tour, and all my well-placed jokes went off, so that was nice. My small group disintegrated along the way, so I attached myself to Xi Min's group and got to talk with this girl from IB as well, and evangelised about worldbuilding to her, and also assured her about her interview and stuff.

Then it was off to Newton Food Centre to meet with a bunch of students from Hokkaido University, who were here on overseas exchange. It was a blast talking to all of them, and sprinkling my little bit of Japanese, and learning more about Japan and their lives. There was this moment I was talking to one of them who said he watched some anime before, and I was trying to tell him about 5 centimetres per second, and I knew he wouldn't get the English name, so I was trying to remember the Japanese title, and one of the other guys knew it, and when the name was mentioned there was a great revelation, and we connected, just like that. I find it miraculous, that we two from different parts of the world can come together and connect over this animated film from his country. It's amazing.

There was supposed to be something here about life and communication and sociability, but it's way too late and I somehow don't feel about talking about it anymore. You've got a whole bunch of remembering to do, Future Me.

EDIT 24/02/2013: Hi, Even-Further-Into-the-Future Me, Future Me here. Except that now I'm Present Me, and you're the new Future Me. Anyway. You've got one less thing to remember, because I'm doing your job and writing down what the previous Present Me (who has been demoted to Past Me) was supposed to write (or have written; it's getting way too tense in here).

So. That thing about life and communication and sociability. I realised that I like talking to people, but I don't like starting a conversation with people, especially new people who I have not met before. There's always that fear, that worrying anxious fear of the unknown; and what is more unknown than a friend that you haven't met? He (or she) could turn out to be an enemy, for all you know. So I guess that's why I'm awkward, or at the least perceive myself as being awkward, because that's riding at the forefront of my consciousness all the time. If you would liken conversation to a fire, then I'm not the tinderbox which would get it going. Compared to a great many people, I'm no match.

But once it gets going, I'm probably a good quantity of dry, flammable wood. I'm interested in people, I think. People are a puzzle, and I like puzzles. I like seeing how things work, how things fall into place to create intricate systems that go. I like to see how people's lives, their experiences, their behaviour and philosphy, all come together to make the person that's sitting across from me today.

And that's where I make the mistake of so many psychologists, social scientists and census statisticians. Listen up, Future Me, because you're going to need to remember this bit. A lot of people are telling you ("me") that I "judge" other people a lot, and this is not necessarily untrue. That is not to say that everyone doesn't do just that, every day, at one point or another, or to varying extents. The human mind evolved to work that way; it's just that before it was categorizing things into "I can eat this" and "Run away, this can eat me", but society has changed a lot since then. And so you go around thinking you're very smart in putting all the pieces of peoples lives into a kind of timeline of cause-and-effect, filled with lots of holes here and there because you don't have the whole story, but you think you have enough paragraphs to confidently write a blurb about his or her life. Listen up, Future Me, because you're going to be wrong. Life is way more complicated and complex than you can confidently account for. And humanity is exactly the same thing. They're both a labyrinth of confusion where effect doesn't always follow cause and logic is merely a suggestion. Remember this, Future Me. I can't always be writing to you.

Nice to meet you,
The Edna Man