Of course, a lot of this failure to understand may well come from the fact that I'm on the Autism Spectrum-- but I like to think that some of it is just from being human.
I’m going to start with amusement, just so that anyone who quits reading because they get annoyed with my other things I don’t get actually sees that.
I’ve never been able to see a man in the moon. Ever. I said I did, waaaaaaaay back when, when my dad was trying to point him out to me, but… nope. I see nothing manlike or face-like in any part of the moon, regardless of its phase. Now, this doesn’t really disappoint me, it really does amuse me. I look on it as an example of Imagination Failure, and most times? I have a kick-ass imagination.
Puzzling… people WHY do so many people text repeatedly back and forth, have LONG CONVERSATIONS via text— instead of just TALKING!? I mean, sure, it’s a smart phone, but it’s still a phone, for pity’s sake! Talking is faster, doesn’t result in “damn you autocorrect” moments, and is generally less likely to result in miscommunication.
Beyond “puzzling” and well into “confusion,” edging into "annoyance," we have NOSTALGIA.
Now, I’m not talking about “remember when dad was alive” type of nostalgia, or, “hey, remember that time in high school when we drove the school librarian out of her mind” nostalgia. No, I’m talking about crap like the “Last Sane Generation” meme that STILL shows up in my Facebook feed now and again. Here’s the whole thing, in the red text:
“The Last Sane Generation.”
Born in the Eighties.
We are the last generation that learned to play in the street. We were the first to play video games, the last to record songs off of the radio onto cassette tapes, or music videos on VHS. We are the pioneers of walkmans and chatrooms. We learned how to program the VCR before anyone else. We played with Atari, Super Nintendo, and Genesis. We believed that the internet would be a free world.
We are the generation of the Thundercats, the Transformers, and GI Joe.
We travelled in cars without seatbelts or airbags, and lived without cell phones.
We never had Playstations, a hundred-plus TV channels, flat-screen TVs, MP3s, iPods, or the internet.
...But nevertheless, we had a GREAT time.
Now, even ignoring the contradictions in here (“we believed the internet would be” followed later by “we never had” a list that ends with “the internet”), this thing is almost as full of crap as the 45th president of the United States.
My youngest grandnieces, born in the 2000s, play in the street. I still see kids playing in the street pretty often, though I am, admittedly, in a small town in Central Illinois.
I was going to video arcades in the late seventies. One of the most recognizable names in video games came out in 1980 (Pac-Man), and Donkey Kong, which introduced us to a plumber named Mario, had a 1981 release.
Walkmans sucked, as a rule. If they didn’t eat your tapes, then they played unevenly, speeding up or slowing down at random. Some of them did both.
I could go on for the entire list, but you get the idea, right? I mean, in the first place, these weren’t “eighties kid” things, I was born in 1965, and in the second place, how is any of that better than what we have now? I mean, my iPod has never eaten my eight dollar (cassette) copy of Billy Joel’s An Innocent Man, but I had two different Walkmans eat two copies of it. Seatbelts and airbags? Those things save lives. Yes, we survived without them, but others didn’t, including people we knew, and even went to school with.
Every generation of kids I know has had a great time. Just because it’s different, that doesn’t make it less appealing.
Nostalgia, ladies and gentlemen, is fine in small doses— but in no way do the things some people feel nostalgic about make them better than later generations, and I’m really tired of seeing and hearing crap that suggests otherwise.
Next up… why don’t people vote? Seriously, how can it hurt you to vote? I’m pretty sure it can’t. (Unless you want to get stupidly anal, and point out that you could trip and break a bone or something on your way to your polling place, but please, let’s not be assholes, here.) I’ve got a friend that rarely votes, because the electoral college decides who is president, according to said friend. Who never said anything when I pointed out that the electoral college follows the popular vote, as a rule. But the number of “faithless electors” has been, by percentage, ridiculously small, down the years.
Vote, people. Vote, vote, VOTE! After all, there may not be someone you actively want to see in an elected position, but there’s probably at least one candidate who isn’t as bad as the other or others. Voting is a privilege that should be seen as a duty.
Besides, if you don’t vote, you really can’t complain, and hey, we all like to complain about some aspect of the government, right?
And finally… trans people. More specifically, the bigotry against them.
If someone is born male, but feels female, and elects to dress and think of themselves that way… okay. If someone is born female, but feels male, and elects to dress and think of themselves that way… also okay. If someone feels genderfluid? Okay. Feels non-specific, agender, doesn’t wish to be identified as either? Yeah, I’m still okay with that.
None of this matters, or should. It doesn’t affect me. Despite what you may believe, it doesn’t affect you. And, I’m sorry to tell you, it isn’t going to hurt a damned thing if someone who was born male but who identifies as female uses a women’s toilet. Your daughter/sister/wife/girlfriend is most emphatically NOT in danger of being sexually assaulted by a trans person in the restroom. That has never, in all of the history of Criminal Justice (a subject in which I have a degree) happened. Not. Once.
On the other hand? People of both “polar” genders (and probably people all over the gender spectrum, though that’s not easy to determine, yet) have been assaulted in restrooms by the following: Police officers, correctional officers, firemen, and politicians. And, you know, priests and other "religious leaders." Not to mention relatives of pretty much every stripe and degree of closeness. Your worry is grossly misplaced.
Seems to me that we could solve the problem by just eliminating urinals, putting in nothing but stalls, and making sure that stall walls and doors go all the way to the ground. (I've never understood why they don't go all the way to the ground, to be honest.)
Two of my favorite comic strips are by trans women. I didn’t know it in the first case, not until I had followed the lady on Twitter because she’s a brilliant writer and amazing artist, and she mentioned being trans in a politically-based Tweet. Later, she retweeted something by the other lady, who is documenting her journey from male to female in a series of comic strips that are always… well, honest. Sometimes they make me smile, other times they make me sad, but almost always, they make me think. I’ve re-examined my thoughts on gender and identity pretty heavily, thanks to these two ladies, and I hope that they come to understand that, someday.
Oh. I should probably mention that I find both of these women physically attractive. Heck, one of them is almost painfully attractive, and both are people I wish I could just sit around and talk to, on occasion, learn more about storytelling from, because they’re both very good storytellers.
So, yeah. I don’t really understand a lot of other things, really— how normal people manage to live with such poor memories (I remember things that happened when I was two, have confirmed these things with family), why anybody likes manga or anime, what the hell anyone sees in ANY reality TV show, I could go on for DAYS— but these have been on my mind for a while. Long enough that I’ve decided to post them in this sadly-under-written-in blog, anyway.
And really, the ones I mentioned are heavily on my mind lately because of the political climate. I can’t help but worry about those two comic-strip-artist/writers that I mentioned, because of that climate. I can’t help worrying about any and all of my women friends, for the same reason. I know people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, aromantic, pansexual, queer, and pretty much every part of the spectrum of sexuality, and I worry about most of them, for one reason or another. (To be honest, most of those reasons are the fault of the republican party....)
Hence, today’s list of things I don’t understand.