My New Job Continued
At work on Friday, someone was making the last call that we needed for our quota on a certain project and so everyone else on that project just sat there and waited. A couple of ladies next to me started talking to each other and found out that they both have fifteen year old sons with Asperger's. This was slightly shocking since I thought they were both just a few years older than me. Anyway, they were engrossed in that so I didn't butt in, but then the call was suspended partway through and we had to get to dialing again, and then someone else started what would hopefully be the last call for real this time, and I told them that I have Asperger's too. One of them was like, "Ah, I thought maybe. You remind me of my son." The other one was like, "I never would have guessed!" But they both said that this revelation gave them hope for their sons' futures. I decided not to ruin the moment by mentioning that my life has only recently ceased to be a train wreck and that I still have fewer romantic prospects than Jon Arbuckle. I decided to just be like
Mackenzie the Feminist
Afterward as she drove us home and we were talking and she fell silent I mused, "I've realized that I don't need to worry about your silences anymore, because I used to think it meant you didn't like what I'd said, but now I know that if you don't like what I've said, you'll tell me."
"Yep," she said.
"You're very outspoken."
"I don't like that word," she said, her voice rising. "It means someone is like, speaking out of turn, and I feel like it's mostly used on girls, and -"
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like that, I just meant you speak your mind instead of being silent -"
"I know, but it has connotations of speaking out of turn -"
"I meant it as a compliment, I'm sorry -"
"You don't need to apologize for everything."
"But you just flipped out on me."
Milo's Grand Adventure
Things have changed since I decided to set the story in a real time and place and bring aliens into it. It's more dark and serious now than either its earlier incarnations or my current only finished novel, "Space Girls" (also a working title), which could even be considered a comedy except that I don't dare because to me that implies making a value judgment that my own work is funny. "Space Girls" attempts to address some deep messages and serious topics but keeps them low-key so as not to be pretentious. "Milo's Grand Adventure", for whatever reason, is turning out to be more serious, and I guess I just have to deal with that. It explores questions that I became curious about, such as "What was it like to be a lesbian in the Middle Ages?"* "What was it like to become an agnostic in the Middle Ages?"** "What was it like to have chronic depression in the Middle Ages?"*** "Did women shave their legs in the Middle Ages?"**** And Milo is no longer so much a wisecracking comic relief character as a deadpan, apathetic chaotic neutral character.
*Because obviously LGBT people have always existed, but the vocabulary and concepts have evolved drastically and mostly just within the past couple centuries, so I'm curious about how that affected people's perceptions of reality. How would a person that today we would consider "lesbian" feel in an era when the concept of "being a lesbian" simply didn't exist, and even saying "I like women" would have been beyond anyone's comprehension including her own?
**Did agnostics and atheists just keep their doubts to themselves so they wouldn't get burned at the stake, or did they not even exist? It has been said that Darwin made it possible to be an "intellectually fulfilled atheist", meaning that previously there wasn't much of a rational basis for denying the existence of God because you couldn't explain the existence of anything without it. I'd be surprised if no one who lived through the Great Mortality (as they called the Black Death) started to question God's benevolence, though.
***Well, you'd have better kept that to yourself too, because the medical diagnosis was "demon" and the treatment was to incarcerate, beat, and/or starve the depressed person to drive it out. Learning this confirmed how much I hate humanity.
****No. A lot of movies are highly inaccurate on this point. My movie adaptation will not be. I was actually just curious about this one because I reasoned that a woman being raised from infancy by a dragon to be an amoral killing machine probably wouldn't bother to shave her legs, but I didn't know if that would set her apart from normal women of the time or not.
"Space Girls", currently weighing in around 460 pages, is much too long for a first-time author to get published. "Milo's Grand Adventure" will be much shorter and my hope is to get it published first and help pave the way toward that end. But if it becomes super popular and then I publish "Space Girls", people might be confused and angered by the huge shift in tone. I suppose that's a risk I'll just have to take.
Last week I read a book called "Modern Romance", written by comedian Aziz Ansari of "Parks and Recreation" fame, in conjunction with sociologist Eric Klinenberg. It explores how dating and marriage have evolved with the advent of texting, Facebook, Tinder, etcetera, and does so very tongue-in-cheekly yet on the basis of scientific studies and interviews and focus groups and stuff. Although it implicitly endorses some things that are not in harmony with the gospel, it was very informative and fascinating. I have no interest in consenting to these asinine games, but learning about them as an outside observer for knowledge's own sake is quite enjoyable. Here are the main pertinent points I gleaned from it:
Introduction - I'm a comedian, but this book is legit, I promise.
Chapter 1 - Women used to marry any old bozos from their hometowns so they could move out of their parents' houses, but now thanks to the whole equality thing they want to find "soul mates".
Chapter 2 - Your paranoia about finding the exact right word choice for a text message is not merely justified but probably insufficient, because yes, your future could hinge on it.
Chapter 4 - People are almost paralyzed by the wealth of options they have these days, and afraid to commit to someone when someone else they like more could be just around the corner.
Chapter 5 - Japan is doomed because no one wants to reproduce, while Argentina is a haven for misogyny, but what they have in common is they're both full of perverts.
Chapter 6 - Your statistical odds of finding a partner who will never cheat on you are pretty abysmal. In France, people are okay with that.
Chapter 7 - Passionate love fades after twelve to eighteen months and is then hopefully replaced by companionate love, which isn't as great, but reaps far more over a lifetime.
Conclusion - I'm a comedian, but that doesn't mean I can't be thoughtful and introspective.
After reading this, I agreed with the author's conviction that all this modern technology is no more inherently bad or disruptive than the telephone or the television or anything else. Although the games that people play with dating are stupid, there's nothing wrong with bringing texting and stuff into it. Texting is not the problem. People are the problem.
The Mormon Section
Mary Magdalene: So, Jesus of Nazareth asked me out.
Martha: Oh, wow, what did you say?
Mary Magdalene: I said I was busy. He seems nice and everything, but he's just so plain-looking. Besides, I'm not really into carpenters. I want to marry someone with a future.
Martha: Yeah. Well, I'm going out with Judas Iscariot again tomorrow.
Mary Magdalene: You have all the luck.
(No sacrilege intended. Please don't stone me.) This topic was also addressed somewhat in an "Adventures in Odyssey" episode where Connie and Eugene went back in time to see baby Jesus.
Connie: I'm afraid that Roman centurion is going to ask me on a date!
Eugene: Don't be silly. They didn't go on 'dates' in first century Palestine.
Connie: Oh, thank goodness.
Eugene: However, he might offer to buy you from me.