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Thursday, November 10, 2005 

I speak in smoke signals and you answer in code

Reasons people who run into me out in the world might not think as I'm friendly as, all else being equal, I am:

I'm hearing impaired. Oh, I can hear you fine if it's just you and me, but even low levels of background noise make it hard for me to pick out individual sounds, like voices. So if you were trying to get my attention, I may not have been ignoring you.

I tend to stare out the window on the bus. Especially in the morning, when I haven't been up for long and likely haven't had the full eight hours of sleep that I'd need to have to be alert. I have ridden the bus two or three seats down from friends and coworkers and not been aware of it until they tell me later. Again, I may not be ignoring you.

I (almost) never wear headphones unless I'm on a prolonged bus journey or on the stationary bike on the gym; I think it cuts off too much contact with the world and with people, and as you can see from the above I don't need any help with that. I am, however, probably listening to music. My mental stereo is nearly as distracting as my Discman, I assure you.

I am apparently scary/imposing looking. I am totally unaware of this, no matter how many times it is mentioned. Sorry. Also my regular blank, neutral facial expression is usually interpreted as dour, bleak whatever. People who know me can confirm my contention that this has nothing to do with my inner mental state.

When I'm thinking about whatever, I tend to zone out. This goes back to my reading habits as a young kid - my fifth grade teacher once tossed her shoe at me because she had been trying to get my attention for five minutes. I still get like that, although basic self-defence means that if I actually have a book in my hands I'm least trying to keep tabs on the world around me.

(title for this post taken from "Have To Explode", by the Mountain Goats - a song I've been increasingly obsessed with, especially on the mental radio, from an album I've been listening to almost as much; serendipitously enough, it's also one of the songs from my last Stycast)

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About me

Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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