Awkwardness and Electronica

Music has a way of transporting my mood; in the case of the above song, it relaxes me and turns me on. I’ve written about psychedelic rock (and I could write about a lot of genres), but I feel a bit lost trying to discuss “electronica” because it is a hopelessly broad topic. You probably already know this, but to point out the obvious: electronic sound is just an instrument. It would be like calling some music “guitarica”: meaninglessly encompassing. Obviously I enjoy trance, sometimes I like perky upbeat stuff that gets me dancing in my seat (though straight “techno” with no vocals has to be very good to grab me). In real life though, I usually just listen to it by myself rather than go out clubbing. The people I usually talk to don’t have a lot of interest in it, and it seems like the people who do are my polar opposites: barfly extroverts. Now that’s unfair of course and grossly overgeneralized, but it is my experience nonetheless.

This segues into a much deeper, more disturbing topic: awkwardness. As you may well imagine, I am something of an introvert. I got bullied in school, and after a few half-hearted attempts to make peace with the popular and/or mean kids I eventually embraced being weird wholeheartedly, just like Gonzo of the Muppet Babies. “To Hell with your Abercrombie & Fitch, fie on your Britney Spears, and yes I do bite my thumb at your Carhartt jacket,” said I. What do you want, I live in Kentucky, rednecks are a force to consider even in the city.

So I embraced being the odd man out, I reveled in the forces of absurdity and strangeness. This eventually led also to the creation of the word “rumf-ish” but that’s another tale. I learned to appreciate liking whatever it is you like while completely ignoring its social relevance (it took me a little longer to realize that not everything that’s popular is necessarily bad; yes I AM telling you I was a hipster before it was cool, but I take no pride in doing so and I’ve outgrown it). There’s a lot of freedom in deciding that you like Hawaiian shirts, or paisley, or green ties, or tie-dye and wearing it despite what looks may follow you.

However, there are downsides to standing away from the crowd. My social skills suffer a bit. I find small talk almost unbearable and full of long pauses if the other person isn’t making it easy for me. Now, deep talk I’m fantastic at, I can give you a conversation milling over every topic from politics to religion to cheese to music to movies to sex and back again without feeling self-conscious once I’ve established what your comfort zones for the conversation are (sometimes I misjudge those zones when people are trying to impress me with how “weird” they are and then I inadvertently step over some boundary they didn’t want to cross). However… awkwardness ensues at times.

I guess I could blame it on the human condition, and maybe that’s so, but I feel that I have bitten off more than my fair share of awkwardness. Oh, I’ve learned social skills: politeness, etiquette, at times I can even come across as funny or charming. Any victories in this area were painstakingly won over countless setbacks; it has never been easy to communicate. Well, heh, there are days and times when I feel so comfortable in my own skin that I feel like Mr. Cool and that I can make no faux pas, and amazingly I don’t screw up. What I don’t understand is why it comes and goes so quickly. Once in a while I will be some unflappable man of mystery, and then the rest of the time I’m a complete nerd.

Anywho… “electronica” doesn’t have much to do with it, other than being one of those private pastimes that I seldom get to share with others. There are a bunch of things I’m not afraid to like that unfortunately don’t get to be topics of conversation very often (depending on the setting): turn-based strategy games, pen-and-paper roleplaying games, fairies, poetry, astronomy, edible wild plants, firearm ballistics, trees, classic muscle cars, and a host of other things since I’m such a curious person. Seriously, try talking about one of those topics with your average person off the street and see what kind of response you get (hint: polite detachment on the positive end of the spectrum).

Whew! Perhaps I’ve said enough. Time for a poem:

eye contact
uh-oh, …

Hi

so what do
how do
what is it you
where do
work due
hairdo?

You distance

yourself

po-lite-ly

my all-encompassing
rose-tinted
view
is too out of focus
for comf’trble you

and you

retreat

with monochrome hues

to a world that exists in the daily news.

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