@themegnapkin The metaphor I use is like a pick-up volleyball game. You enjoy it, you play your heart out for your side. But you know just the same that's a game, that in 20 minutes you'll be done and then what seemed so important won't be any longer...and that's the way it's meant to be.
I just want to say that every single time I have had a crisis in my life (and quite often the crisis is over something that no one else would see as critical), I have said to God, "OK, I'm just going to lie down on the floor now and die and when I open my eyes, you're going to have fixed everything, OK?" And it never works. Not because God doesn't exist, but because it doesn't work that way in life. You have to put in the effort to get what you want or to get through something.
Another thing to consider is that (as Buddhism teaches) detaching yourself from wanting will bring some internal peace. It will allow you to enjoy the world without necessarily relying on it for happiness. You will be less angry, less demanding, of it and of you.
It's nice the newspaper commentators are somewhat sensitive. I recently knew a person in my hometown who was killed in a break-in and the comments under the newspaper article made me despair of humanity. None of them were intentionally malicious, but they seemed to think that a brief article about a man they didn't know being killed was a good place to show off snarky remarks.
Anyway, it's posts like this that keep me reading The Awl. Thanks.
I work in a med school and we get our bodies from Texas -- ordering and shipping them is a huge deal. (We used to get bodies from CA but one of the local news stations ran a story with sleazy graphics which implied we were doing something untoward.) Anyway, at the end of the year we always have a ceremony for the bodies with candles and non-denominational type prayers. I don't know what happens to them after that.
I just thought it was funny that Eliot got away with calling the manor house in the book Freshitt.
OK, where I live Whole Foods is yawn because we've had it for years plus we have WinCo, because it's the inter-mountain west, baby, and they have this tremendous bulk section (nothing says sticking it to the man like buying bulk) where I bought fennel seed for .08 last week plus there's this whole doomsday-prepper vibe which is just too die for. And Xtian books. It's like Wal Mart married Whole Foods. It makes me want to cry with pleasure.
@hypnosifl I was what we would now call bullied in school, as a result friendship was always a mystery to me, and in some ways still is. And I will grant your point about romantic relationships: my main one has lasted into marriage (18 years now). Really, I think was just extremely lucky, meeting the right person. But all things are connected. If you are the type of person who can't speak easily to other people, who wonders all the time "was that an insult? What does that remark mean?" etc. (and maybe this is just my misinterpretation of the letter writer), deciphering the signals in a romantic relationship will be a nightmare.
Interestingly, I have the opposite problem from you. Small talk I learned how to do, it's the stage after small talk that mystifies me.
I think you are trying to walk before you can run. If you can't communicate with people socially at all you probably can't do a full-blown romantic relationship yet. You just don't know enough about human communication. Work on social activities and relationships...the larger stuff will eventually come, too. Also, as someone who told myself for years "there's no point in getting to know so-and-so, we obviously have nothing in common because he/she is old, young, blonde, shallow,etc." -- please, don't pre-emptively reject other people as unworthy of you (or you not worthy of them.) You can make friends, firm friends, among people you have little in common with. And you will feel much much happier.
On The World's Most Terrible Alarm Clock And Other Intentionally Uncomfortable And Hilarious Objects
The itchy garment is really just a hairshirt. Been around a long time.
I think my first inkling that most people don't know what they're talking about came from reading book blurbs. Same thing over and over for every new novel/short story collection, usually described as "luminous" or "compelling" (which I always thought was kind of a back-handed compliment.) Maybe you are confusing not having an opinion on something with not caring that much.
As for me, I'm just glad that if a Canadian had to win the Nobel Prize, it wasn't Margaret Atwood.