Over the last few years I have had a repeated thought. A question actually, that gathers dust most days, but on some days, it rattles the bars of my otherwise solid facade of … whatever face it is I think I have built for the pleasure of the masses.
Is everything a game?
There is very little I do or say that is not calculated first. The irony is that I detest the presence of it in other people. Arrogance. I don’t accidentally say or do anything. Other than walk into coffee tables or very clean sliding doors. My world requires symmetry. Maths, and a knowledge of the variations in how any given situation could turn out. If I know those answers, I can control the steering wheel.
I care very little for most people and a great deal for only a few. I don’t do empathy. I don’t want to. Which if you peel back the motives, is textbook self preservation, but it has been such a long time now, that it’s no longer a struggle not to feel. I am selfish, manipulative, and acutely aware of others who do or don’t ‘suffer’ from the same detachment.
Somewhere along the line I became very good at reading between the lines, and even better at sniffing out those that think they are smarter than I am… (because I do indeed believe I am smarter than many. Not all, but many) and even better still, at letting them think they have me sussed. Pegged. Potentially led along or controlled. If you give anyone enough rope, they will inevitably hang themselves. Liars seldom have good memories, and when they do, their arrogance or the perpetual victim mentality will likely unveil the truth. They want stroking. They invite your hands to massage their ego’s by offering lip service and flattery. Cocoons made of pity are paper thin and do no good to anyone.
I have been called a narcissist. By a friend who is a psychologist and a narcissist himself. Although, he suffers from remorse. I do not. Not unless you are someone I love and hold in high esteem. But even then, remorse is a stretch. Sadness, would be more accurate. Is it all a game? A weird societal pecking order, where I have to be subtle about how I stand on the heads of those that are oblivious to my complete lack of interest. My complete lack of pity? What good is pity? Why rewind and watch your own trauma or frailty over and over? How does that help you? What am I supposed to feel when you do that with me as a witness? Lie, and tell you it will all get better? I don’t fucking know that, do I? Why is it that easy to be comforted by lies?
The reason, I ask if it is all a game, is because I have learned that no one gets anywhere with out moving a peice on the board. No one loves, or gains, or moves forward with out some calculation, and some risk and some…. plan? And if we get kicked off the board, what does that make us? Bad at the game? Or better equipped for the next one?
Anyone that has read the ‘About Me’ sections of my blog will know I am very experienced at being kicked off the board. Dragged off. Pulled off. Shamed and shunned… off.
Perhaps it would be sad to many to think that someone would emerge from all of that viewing any and all interactions as a game. But we all do it – to varying degrees, and if you say you don’t – you are a liar. Your motives may not be the same as mine, but you still do it. Some of you would rather diffuse than fight. I would rather find a weakness and penetrate with one blow. It is less effort, and in gaming terms, much more satisfying. Am I cruel? No. I don’t think so. I am capable of it, but I gain no pleasure in it.
Why bother bringing all this up? Maybe because I realise that it really is all just a game. The fact that it is a game doesn’t negate my capacity for love of my opponents – or fellow team mates, if that is what you are. But a game it is. Even if you don’t know it yet…
For example. I have just moved into a new apartment. The woman who is my landlord met James and I at the unit we were looking at. She is an old duck and wore a floral dress. She had tell tale signs of pain in the way she walked, and she looked at her watch a lot. When I asked if she was in a hurry, she in a flustered manner, said no, that it was just habit. I knew then that she missed details, and that her commission was the most important, because she neglected to be warm and inviting and she skipped all the usual introductory type rituals. She looked at the earlobe wheels in Jame’s ears, and the giant tattoo on my calf (of a skull and a death moth) and looked away as if to dismiss the possibility that we could be hooligans. Then she looked at her watch again. Most of her sentences started with “We will sort that out”.
So, in my initial emails to her, I was syrupy sweet and reassuring of just how little I actually needed her to attend to. She warmed up to me then, making her complacent.
Then I receive an email saying I owe rent. I respond with, “I had assumed you were more efficient and would have seen that I paid the rent over a week ago. Please find attached proof.” Now, she is embarrassed and is more likely to jump when I say jump.
Opportunity to test my assumptions came this week when I sent her an email saying I was unhappy with the state of the exteriors properties around me. Beer bottles lying around, garbage and all sorts scattered about in a complex where one of the golden rules is that the communal areas are kept clean or you will be fined.
I made reference to one unit who had (one time) had blaring music which the landlord happened to hear in passing and had taken it upon herself to make them turn it down. But the email was only about mess. But in her embarrassed state she missed the details and jumped to attention in a hurry to redeem her previous inadequacy. As predicted.
I then get a phone call saying I need to come to the offending unit to back her up. She was freaking out at the tenant about music. I arrive and the landlord is ‘winning’ with her over bearing body language as she yells at the timid tenant who has NO IDEA what is going on.
My response was first to apologise to the tenant for my landlord. I then, in front of other tenants, turn to landlord who is bleating on about having to come down here and fight my fights for me… and that I must approach tenants myself…
No. Stop. My email said: I am unhappy with the state of the communal areas around me. PLEASE ADVISE.
Nowhere did I say ‘come all the way down here and pick a fight with a tenant about music when that is not what my email said. I ASKED what I should do if I am unhappy about the mess in the communal areas below me and across from me (the one with the previous loud music issue). You could just have easily emailed me back stating that I could approach tenants on my own. Now you are all hot and bothered and pulled me away from my desk to back you up when you didn’t even read my four line email WITH PHOTOGRAPHS properly. And you are annoyed at me??’
Landlord: 0 Me: 2
So… is it still a game if the person being undermined is not aware they have been assessed and found to be incompetent? Inadequate? And why is this important to me?
Because people are by and large the same. We are all selfish. We all think we are smarter. We all let slip that arrogance in how we interact with others. We all have motives. Every single one of us. And I refuse to be at the bottom of that food chain. Been there, done that. That gray area is for those who feel safer being the victim. It means there is no real change required. Familiar ground in repetitive circling of your broken heart. You are your own personal vulture.
As a nurse, as a manager of a restaurant, and even now as Public Relations for an advertising company – I am always handed the difficult people. Difficult equals blinding weakness of I just look hard enough and ask the right questions. The irony is that I work from home because I don’t have the people skills required to make nice with people ALL DAY that I often find mind numbingly boring or so incompetent that I have to physically focus on not saying or doing something that I will get in trouble for – by all the peace keepers and diffusers of this world.
I am not sweet, and I am not spontaneously kind. If I love you, you will see the good in me just as readily as you will see the bad. Or the unacceptable. My brothers get burned despite my love for them. My parents diffuse, and most of my extended family – I don’t even talk to because there is nothing nice to say.
Am I unhappy? No. Not really. I worry more about homeless kids and the underdog than I do about much else. But I can argue even then, that it has little do do with pity or compassion or kindness. I detest injustice. Another textbook answer to what my past has cultivated with in me.
It has been mentioned, that I also lack fear. When a human being goes through enough physical, mental and emotional pain – there is not much else left to be afraid of. I quite like that I am not afraid. Or maybe it’s just the Lithium?