I just remembered something

I had been thinking that I don’t have the attachment-to-objects / empathy-for-objects thing that some autistic people do (basically treating objects as if they have feelings. Feeling like you should apologize to them if you damage them, grieving when you have to get rid of them as if you were losing a friend, things like that.)

It’s true that I don’t feel like that very often or very strongly now, but I just remembered there was one object-empathy-ish thing that I felt really strongly about when I was a kid.

It’s not something you would expect, like ascribing feelings to dolls or stuffed animals.

It’s balloons.

I used to think that the way balloons slowly lose their helium, stop being able to float, get smaller and wrinkled and damaged-looking, was really sad. I didn’t like having balloons in the house for parties because I knew they were just going to (I felt) die, in a few days.

I felt the same way about glow sticks. We used to get them on the Fourth of July, and after we got back from watching the fireworks and I went to bed, my mother would put my glow stick in my room “so I could see it while I fell asleep.” As soon as she shut the door, I’d get up and cover the glow stick up with something, because I hated the thought of watching its glow slowly die.

So yeah. Single-use things that run out. That’s my object empathy thing.

Ruralness

I always tell people that the area where I grew up wasn’t Really rural (and really, it wasn’t), but then I see things like what I saw earlier today, where people are like Did You Know? There are places in the United States that don’t have Critical Infrastructure like municipal water and sewer systems!

Yes, there are places like that in the United States, and I grew up in one of them, and it’s not a scary thing?

Because this is the United States, and “infrastructure” and “access to technology” encompass more than just stuff built by the government, people who live in places without municipal water systems have wells with electric pumps, and septic tanks, and companies with vacuum trucks that come empty the septic tanks, and companies that test their water for pollution, etc. etc. etc.

There are people in rural areas who can’t afford those things, but there are also people in urban areas who can’t afford to pay their water bills, or to pay a plumber when something goes wrong with their pipes, and to me that doesn’t seem so very different, but idk.

Here’s a cool thing

A principle I currently believe is important, and which I know I’ve felt the same way about for at least ten years, because I distinctly remember saying this in a discussion in my tenth grade social studies class:

Words mean what people think they mean.
Symbols represent what people think they represent.

Learning about the origins of words, symbols, slogans can really expand your understanding of the context they came from, and I think it’s really important, but that doesn’t mean the original meaning is the Real meaning. The Real Meaning is what most people currently understand it to mean.

You can educate people about changes in meaning, and sometimes you can use a word in an uncommon or non-current sense if you explain that’s what you’re doing, but you can’t make language stop changing.

I was thinking about this in response to a post about person-first lanugage, and then I thought to myself, “Wait, I remember saying “symbols mean what people think they mean” in Mr. K’s social studies class…”

Cool kids

Lots of people have had a teacher who was “the cool teacher”. Has anyone else had a teacher who thought you were a cool student?

Like, they think you’re really talented in a way that’s not just doing well with the class material but like, they personally admire what you’re doing. Or they think of you as “one of the cool kids” in the sense of having radical opinions or a cutting-edge sense of style.

I’ve had a few and it’s a little uncomfortable.

I guess what it really boils down to is them thinking you’re cool-er than they are. There’s probably some idealism involved, about young people being more energetic, creative, exciting. And probably also something I’ve heard a lot of people describe re: bullying, and which I definitely experience– having the same emotional reaction to Cool Teenagers as you used to have as a less-cool teenager, even when you’re an adult and have power over them in various ways.

Also a bit of the universal thing where other people always seem more confident and decisive than you are, because you don’t know the thought process behind what they’re doing, you only see the actions.

I don’t know. It’s a really interesting phenomenon, especially since it happened to me in what seemed like very similar ways at a variety of ages, from middle school to college.

I wish I knew…

at what age I read various books. I can “date” some of the ones I read while I was elementary-school age, because I remember reading them at school or talking to my classmates about them so I know what grade I was in at the time.

But I have zero idea when I first read A Wrinkle in Time, except that I was fairly young. Same for the first time I read The Hobbit. Except that it was early enough that I’d mostly forgotten it by the time the LOTR movies came out. Or A Wizard of Earthsea, come to think of it.

Glasses

When I was younger I always got glasses with really big, round lenses (to be clear, this was all long befor ethis was a cool, ironic-stylish thing to do) because I hated being unable to use my peripheral vision because my glasses didn’t cover it. But I also thought they looked bad, and they certainly didn’t look stylish according to the whatever of the time.

So in high school I gradually moved towards smaller, more rectangular lenses, and the ones I have now (and have had for like eight years or something, wow) are very cute on my face and all but the lenses are tiny. And I’ve 99% gotten used to them, but every so often I think about how much of my field of vision isn’t actually field of vision right now, and feel like I made a bad choice and I’m missing out.

Like. e.g. While my eyes are focused on these words I’m typing at about the midpoint of my laptop screen, in my peripheral vision my hands on the keyboard are outside my glasses. My hands can’t be in focus unless I turn my head.

If I have a book in my lap, I have to look down at it by moving my whole head to be able to read it. How much of my neck problems are because of my glasses? How much of my thing of always actually-turning-my-head instead of moving my eyes is … well, any other kind of habit,* and how much is because of my glasses?

 

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* When I’m driving, or crossing the street, I feel like the reason I do it is to make sure I’m Really looking left and right for oncoming cars.