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"Don't You Get It Yet?"

Required listening: "Liar", by Henry Rollins.

I live a life of being misunderstood. I believe I've hinted at this in the past -- I usually settle on the fact that I'm more comfortable being uncomfortable to everyone else. But now? The misunderstandings are getting a little out of control.

Pandora calls me "an established and well-read intellectual whose love life is driving him nutty". Pandora's a real treat to talk to, and she's one of the only two people I read regularly on the Web. I enjoy her that much. However, I think she has the wrong impression of me, reading many of my essays and letters which were written in a roller-coaster period of mine where I was having some problems with relationships. For some reason, most readers latch onto these writings more than the optimistic, sometimes even idealist stuff I type up and throw on the Web. So in effect, peoples' views of me based on what I write are tainted by the limited exposure they've had to me. I must set the record straight that I am not established, I'm not that well-read, and my love life only drove me nutty for awhile there. ;) This sort of misunderstanding is one I'll accept, since it has nothing but good intentions and complimentary undertones. Food for the ego! Stay sexy, Pandora.

Mr. Arthur describes me as a person who "I think lives astride the fence of wanting to get himself heard but not getting anyone to hear him. Or something." Mr. Arthur is great. He admits to not really know what to think of me. He's the other person I read regularly on the Web. Mr. Arthur, in my opinion, has the best web site I've ever seen, so I naturally wrote him a few e-mails giving him my thoughts on his thoughts, and things worked out well. However, I think I've led him into thinking that I'm another person seeking attention, yet not finding it. I think I've said some things which would have him think that I was a little angry at the rest of the Web for not recognizing my work. To some degree, that's true, as I see a lot of half-assed HTML markup and design win major awards, but I'm currently trying to force myself to believe that the best recognition is not something you've advertised yourself for. Some folks say I don't advertise enough, and I respond that that's intentional. I would rather people visit as a personal experience, not as a ritualistic, surf-while-you-sip-a-latte, gimme-the-cool-site-of-the-day-so-I-can-procrastinate-at-work-some-more-on-my-T3-network, zombie-like click of a button on a bloated web award site. Cult followings are a fantasy to me -- I'd be perfectly happy with them. But mass rape of my thoughts and feelings by people who don't really feel like analyzing them? No thanks. So I suppose I would be more happy with a description which went like, "Ben Turner lives in his own world where the properties of life and thinking operate differently, where the entrance gates are so narrow as to only let a few worthy people in at one time. Half-interested visitors should keep out."

Some think I'm overly intrusive or too blunt, especially when I'm first meeting them. It's not that I'm intrusive, it's the fact that I'm tired of playing the little mind games when meeting people. I have been numbed to mindless chatter which accompanies the initial stages of relationships. I want to know what people think, not know what the weather's like or what they did yesterday. Yet people view this as an attack at their lives, and they think somehow I'll hurt them by knowing some things about their lives. I contend, however, that most people don't care about basic engrained things in peoples' lives. I don't worry about posting too much about myself online. I don't think many people care. And the people who do care get more out of my web site because I'm so open. The latest person to misunderstand me in this way now understands me much better because of discussions about exactly this topic.

Others have called me misogynistic and completely full of myself. Not quite. Usually only the most ignorant people I've talked to have accused me as being such, but after a brief debate, I've convinced them differently. Apparently, the essays "Mendax Cavus" and "Begone!" have convinced people that I have a general hatred towards women. Completely untrue. As "Oh Go Away" clearly states, I have a general hatred towards everyone. *grin* I cannot fathom how people could convert the above essays about specific people in my life to a general statement about a whole gender. It's stupid. It's hurtful. I treat everyone I meet on an individual basis, initially. But I am certainly entitled to talk about certain people I dislike, or about disliking people in general. Do not label me with negative words, or, if you choose to, then send me an e-mail and I'll quickly correct your narrow-minded thinking.

The people who do truly understand me are mainly those whom I have met in real life. And, not so surprising, they are women. They can see how I truly feel about things -- they can see that, if I were not worried about getting a job or getting good grades for my parents, I wouldn't officially attend a university -- I'd be more content sitting in at classes as I'm interested in them. Perhaps that's not all true -- I need the discipline of a classroom to get work done sometimes. But the basic feeling about learning is there. I'd rather learn through tactile experience, most of the time. No one taught me how to use the Web, or how to uncompress a CGI script and install it. No one taught me to put up a web site filled with thousands of words. At least, not directly.

So, why the heck am I writing about this, especially in the Soapbox? Because I want people to at least get the right idea about me before they leave, so I don't read something which is only partially true on someone else's site. And, I think, describing myself to the reader, he gets a better idea of how I think, why I think, and what I think.

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