No, I’m not sorry that I don’t know how to manipulate you.
I’m not sorry I don’t know how to socially engineer situations.
I’m not sorry that I have no idea what veiled and unsaid things are half the time.
No, I’m not sorry that I respond to the face value of what you said.
It’s difficult for most folks to communicate with me, no doubt. A majority of that trouble is my inability to build and maintain a high enough level of artifice. I don’t have masks or veils or a persona or a facade. I don’t hide parts of myself or smother them that much, and I have no desire to try. It’s not that I don’t understand subtlety (ok sometimes I don’t) or the need to tailor a message for the audience. But there’s a difference between refraining from mentioning something, and meaning something entirely different than what was said.
Subtlety, tact and discretion can be positive qualities. Loaded questions, connotations, implications and insinuations are, to me, insidious parasites. Whether it’s to include or exclude we know they are controlling, invasive, damaging and demeaning. Yet somehow, the honest people are the derided ones.
The mechanism of mutual understanding facilitates the reinforcement of social hierarchy that feeds bullying and systemic oppresion. People respond to the sentiment they recognize behind the front of fake niceness. They know when they’re being put down. But they hide their response in their own wretched falseness and internalize the damage done.
What’s worse to me is this way they act when when they see that I don’t exactly play along. People actually believe that I should not only know when and how to interpret coded language (and understand its specifics), but be able to operate under the continuing agreement that we both know, although no one is saying it. Then I am expected to reply with my own manufactured response that does not say out loud the agreed upon narrative, yet does further the unspoken agenda.
So, I am expected to assume I’ve correctly assessed a side eye or shuffle of the feet, and not specify my findings lest I be the crude one. So, let’s say I’ve managed to incorrectly read these non-verbal cues – people feel justified in being upset that I assumed I had interpreted them correctly when I hadn’t, or if I had specified my assessment I would have been wrong to be callously overt then too… if I understand this procedure.
I can’t really figure out why my complicity is needed in what’s already veiled and hidden anyway. I guess they are looking for tacit ackowledgment. Like the guy I saw on the corner one time, his alcohol in a milk carton to look legitimate, but the carton in a paper bag (which could also legitimize an open container), so together they now form an obvious discrepancy between the surface and the reality.
The unspoken rules we play this game by are many and widely varied.
At this point, I could almost consider playing along.
If only I had an unspoken dictionary.