This year's OVFF marked the first anniversary of the late-night
conversation and song-swapping session with pocketnaomi (briefly mentioned
here) that I think of as the first sign of the changes that eventually
led to the River
It was particularly appropriate, then, that she spent the con crashing in
my room. It was something of an experiment, and a very successful one: I
experienced much the same level of casual friendliness that's become
familiar from years of sharing hotel rooms with my daughters. (Without
arguments over who sleeps in which bed or what time curfew is -- a
The con was a good opportunity to re-connect with many of the friends I
made last year, and to try to make a few new ones (though not as many as I
would have liked). Few of my conversations got as deep as I would have
liked them to, and there wasn't nearly enough time for all the
conversations I wanted to have. *sigh*
I found it a little easier to start conversations with strangers,
including three of my four airplane seatmates. Part of the trick, I
think, is simply using my time better: I used to hang out on the edge of a
conversation waiting for someone to notice me or for an opening to appear;
it never worked and left me feeling left out. Now I try to stand or sit
next to someone who isn't in a conversation. I'm still not very
good at getting things started, but improving. Sharing a table at
breakfast or dinner is always a good strategy.
On the negative side, just because I'm increasingly aware of things like
body language, subtext, and tacit messages doesn't mean that I'm any
damned good at either sending or interpreting them. In fact, it's
probably worse: if I recognize but totally misread a message that I would
have ignored a year ago, the results are at best highly embarassing. And
in my little bear-like brain there's nothing worse than being embarassed.
Similarly if I notice that I'd sent a totally unintended tacit message to
someone I had no wish to offend. I spent quite a bit of time Sunday
evening wondering whether I'd ever be any good at this whole
"being human" thing.
I had one of each; no need to go into details on the first one. In the
second case, yes, I really did want to finish a LJ post, which I was
working on through an ssh connection, without having to worry about the
battery dying and the connection dropping. It wasn't a rejection. There
are lots of reasons why I'll leave a conversation: I might think it's
over, I might have something that needs doing, or I might be feeling left
out. I might even be bored, but that's rare, and never happened at OVFF.
I'm afraid the person I'd been talking to thought I was rejecting her. Or
Public Service Announcements:
- You can't count on me to interpret your body language, tone of voice,
or implied messages correctly, even if I sort-of notice that they're
there. Use words, if at all possible.
- There's rarely, if ever, an unspoken subtext to anything I do. What
you see me doing is what I'm doing, and I'll tell you why if you ask.