But I feel good in a way going to parties, even those such as this one where I feel, in some sense, intensely awful and out of place much of the time. There were definitely people there that I had fine conversations with, but... there's that mental quicksand of sitting around being the wallflower, and then being aware of it, and then being made even more aware of it by others asking me if I am bored, etc etc. It happens to me so often at parties, and even in less organized social things. I think -- besides being perhaps a little reluctant, though not totally unwilling, to initiate conversation -- there's something about my facial expression when I'm just thinking or looking around that seems negative, unpleasant, upset. I don't find it easy to reflexively smile if I'm in a neutral mood.
But it was interesting for a while being so out of it, out of the loop, off to the side, just sitting and soaking it up, just watching people tell their jokes and dance around. At no point do I feel like I could do the same, though. It's close to a contradiction, what with my feeling so confident that I could learn so many other things. I'm left with a gut-level belief that I just can't learn to be normally social; sure, I can be social, I can get along fine with people I know well enough, or people that I don't know but are sufficiently into some discipline that I can get them excited and talking about it, but I just can't muster the patience to let my mind just... spin down, out of gear.
Is that all it takes? Is it just that I don't hardly ever fatigue of thinking, and so think that I should be doing it all the fucking time? (Do joggers find it unbearable to stand in place? I wouldn't think so...)
On the other hand, what is it that people do with their lives? I feel so content and alive and good as long as I'm reading or writing or solving things, building little machines out of math and code, arguing philosophy, arguing politics, arguing lingustics, hearing about other people's discoveries, working, playing, creating. Cramming ideas in and spitting them out, wrestling with them. This is just what I do. I feel more myself, I feel more at home the more I do it. Whatever I lack in intelligence I make up in brilliance, and I mean less to be arrogant than to simply hew close to the literal side of the metaphor. I mean to be brilliant, to burn hot and bright, to fuck things up now and then, fine, to get wrong, to misunderstand, to struggle, but to do, to think, to have ambition.
I know I tear my hair out when things aren't working, and I whine about how my research is doomed and broken now and then, but that's not the real shape of things. That's the details.
I have the same little revelation in different words, again and again. I worry that I can never successfully know what I want out of people, because to want is a prediction of what will make you happy. But I think I do know, really. I know well enough. I know it when I see it. Not intelligence necessarily, but... akompanulinon en tiu sopiro al vero, al kompreno, al beleco, al tiu brileco, that brilliance, that potent, quiet inner fire. Sed kie, en kiu ĝin trovi?