"NOR, you don't have any fans"
Anyway, I had wanted to write about obligation. A lot of people have noticed that I've, again, been anti-social. At this point, I've been anti-social for the greater part of a year (with a couple of small breaks, but nothing really significant.) I don't really know why. I can come up with a bunch of BS theories about it, but nothing that jumps out and says "this is it!"
I do recall one thing, though... and this is going to probably come back and bite me in the ass as being much harder than I intend. I'm becoming really uncomfortable with the concept of obligation... or at least, the sort of perpetual obligation which most friendships... well, perpetuate.
Consider this (consider this, he taught... errrr wrong song): A friend lends you $20. You have an immediate obligation of paying back the $20. But even after you've paid back the $20, you have a sort of lingering obligation... something along the lines of "well, he lent me this $20 when I needed it. If he needs it and I have it, I'll have to lend it to him."
This sort of obligation is sort of ingrained into us as a social grace. Society is better off having people attached to it.
I'm not sure how much I like it.
I remember having a conversation with Bill, Anna and Jamie once, where I said something along the lines of "I hang out with a lot of people because I feel that I have to, or that I should." and they responded that if I ever felt that way about them I should stop hanging out with them. At least until I wanted to again.
Jamie and Anna take to this sort of thing fairly well, I believe. I haven't been in contact with them for almost a year now, but I'm pretty sure that if I were to call them out of the blue and say "I wanna hang out", it would be pretty cool. I also understand that they may not want to at whatever time I called, and I wouldn't take that personally.
Most of my friends don't seem to deal with this particularly well. Some are trying harder than others. A number of them seem to feel somewhat estranged. Some of them think I don't care anymore, some of them are getting increasingly angry, some are getting increasingly sullen.
I'd say I'm sorry about it, but I'm not really. I haven't felt like being very social. End of story. Accept it or don't.
So, back to obligation. I personally think it would be pretty great if, as friends, we could interact in ways that benefitted each other, without feeling we have to sacrifice ourselves to do it. And the thing that really bothers me is that sometimes I can't tell whether people are doing things because they think they owe it to me as a friend, or because they feel they benefit as well. I would rather people NOT sacrifice for me. If a friend doesn't want to do something, or would do it if I did something in return, that's great. Ask and I can decide.
I don't want to owe, and I don't want to be owed.
And yet, I still feel like I owe people. Because this concept of perpetual obligation is so ingrained into us. And even disliking it, I still seem to rely on it. I just recently asked a friend a favor that I didn't really do anything to repay, and it sort of bothers me. I'm being intentionally vague here, I know, but I'll just leave it at "I still feel like I'm indebted to people, and it bothers me, and there seems to be no accurate way to repay the debt without being insulting or 'cold' about it."
But this whole thing is rather cold, isn't it?
I wonder sometimes if there's another way. Whether the concept of simple trading works. Whether you can say "I'll lend you $20 now, if you repay me $22, and then there won't be the lingering indebtness of it, we both got something we wanted and we're even." Or even if I could live with that all the time. That would make things like "romantic" relationships rather... well, not romantic. Just imagine applying THAT in a relationship. That's kind of ugly.
But hey! I'm not involved in one right now anyway, so I can dream.
I think there are long-term obligations that I can handle, or that I don't feel offended by. Jobs, for example... it benefits both myself and my employer to employ me. This can go on indefinitely, as long as it continues to benefit both of us. No problem, and I certainly don't feel any sort of lingering debt to past employers. (Whether I feel ill-used by them or not)
I have reached the point of silly one-liners and rambling, so I will stop, save it, upload it when I get home, and just go to work for now.
P.S.: So I got home to upload this. I left my music on all night, at a rather high volume. Whoops.
And yes, I'm STILL listening to Traces. I really, REALLY, want to go play IIDX right now. *cry* oh for a week's worth of vacation.