February 26th, 2003

A Pocket Full of Murder

(no subject)

This descriptive little entry in Erin's blog was an absolute delight to read:

The next morning, in the ice-glossed, snow-heaped cherry tree, I saw it: a robin, the first of the year. Thin and much ruffled. ... It looked like a tourist from Sheffield who had saved up for a holiday in the South of France, only to find that it rained all week, that French people don't speak English, and the caramelized onions give one the trots.

I do love a nice quirky simile. Well said, Erin.
A Pocket Full of Murder

(no subject)

A couple of articles -- I don't agree with everything the authors have to say, but as someone who is both an introvert and a nerd, I found them quite interesting:

  • Caring for Your Introvert
  • Why Nerds Are Unpopular

    I particularly appreciated the statement in the first article that an introvert is someone who can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk.... I knew I was introverted, but I wondered whether my lack of fearfulness, and indeed thorough enjoyment, of public speaking and performance meant that I had some odd latent extroverted tendencies, or what. This makes sense, though: the notion that introverts are "idea people" rather than "people people", and therefore can be comfortable dealing with general concepts and principles even in front of a large audience, yet still find themselves at a loss when talking to individuals.

    I also liked the distinction Rauch draws between introversion and shyness -- I'm introverted to the point of finding it extremely difficult to sustain a conversation with someone I don't know well (and sometimes even with people I do know well), but even at that, very few people who know me would consider me shy.

    The second article failed to resonate with me on a few points -- for instance, I had by far the worst time socially in public school, and it was only in high school that I started to make friends and actually enjoy being a nerd (the very opposite scenario to the one the author presents) -- but I do think Graham makes some very interesting observations about the artificiality of the school environment, and also about the importance of strong and loving families to nerd survival.

    *makes sweeping gesture of benediction* Speak to me, my fellow introverts and nerds. I'm sure at least some of you will have thoughts and opinions about one or both of these articles, and I'd be very interested to hear them.
  • A Pocket Full of Murder

    (no subject)

    Dragonpaws made a really interesting remark in her comments on my last post, which I'll quote here:

    I wasn't persecuted, as such, in middle school or high school. I was a girl, and I was... hm... not socially acclimated enough, I suppose, to believe that defending myself by retaliating to verbal attacks was 'unfeminine' or 'inappropriate.' I grew up in a sarcastic home, and people soon learned that there was easier prey out there than me.

    I was fascinated to hear this, because my equal lack of "social acclimation" in this area when I was at school, my facility for sarcasm and quickness to cut down antagonists with words (which I'd learned from my older brothers, I hasten to add, not my parents), had a completely different outcome for me. In fact, it got me into even more trouble than I'd already been in for the capital offenses of being a "weirdo" and a "brain", and seemed to just reinforce my classmates' dislike. Once, when I made a snappy retort to a taunt by one of my fellow sixth-graders, he punched me in the stomach and knocked the wind right out of me. And another kid actually tried to drown me in the swimming pool when I trotted out the old Python joke "Your father smelt of elderberries and your mother was a hamster!"

    It wasn't until grade ten or so that the bullying stopped. The shunning went on considerably longer, but fortunately I'd discovered a number of fellow art-geeks by then and we were able to hang out and be nerdy together. I really don't know why my classmates finally stopped picking on me in high school -- it didn't seem to correspond with anything I did or didn't do -- but then, I had never understood why they'd been so keen on abusing me in the first place.

    All of which is not to minimize or criticize anything Dragonpaws said, just to observe that a solution that works for one nerd or one situation may not necessarily work for another. (And speaking of which -- Psst! Mom! "Just ignore them and walk away" didn't work either.)