Chaos Attraction

Does Absence Really Make The Heart Grow Fonder?

2020-06-17, 11:16 p.m.

According to the work Slack channel: "In the world of bizarre news these days, there is a group of people trying to form a "No-Mask Protest Day" for this Saturday. It was reposted on Facebook last night by someone trying to spread word and apparently, disease, as well. The repost called for people to go forth into the public without masks and enjoy parks, shopping, parties, food, and friends. *facepalm* So, heads up on that..."

I should just go out and lick a shopping cart and catch it anyway, right? Why bother trying to save your own life?

Hooo boy, today's work meeting.

* The new hiree has to go through a phone interview, a Zoom interview, a "meet BigBoss" interview, and a "skills assessment" test. They have four candidates. Coworker Sarah is nervous and asked what kind of test, I said heck if I know, I've only taken a test once when applying in scheduling and it was more proofreading.

* There are now 550+ portals. I got an email from someone saying, "I sent in my request and I didn't get a response for a week and a half." I explained why and that he was going to have to wait, since god knows I can't get what he wants to work on my computer from home anyway. He took it well, at least.

* One of my coworkers got eviscerated by a high muckety muck when she asked him if he could meet his deadline. He took the opportunity to throw an online temper tantrum, apparently. Uh, we're not allowed to move the deadline, so don't bitch at us. Well, we can't stop you, but it's not going to get you anywhere complaining to us. She seemed pretty unfazed by now, thank goodness.

* When I am forced to speak up in a meeting. I hate it so much. Since I can't go into the office to deal with the mail, and a bunch of Important Documents came into the office, a few days ago, I had to ask how working on mailing them is going. The staff sounds absolutely overloaded and I felt horrendous asking and overloading them some more, but when people ask me I have to have an answer. And this turned into an hour and a half of drama and Yet Another Special Meeting (I have only spent about an hour of this workday out of Zoom) to Discuss This. I have been running my area alone with little or no help for several years now, but it's always fun when people start losing their shit when they find out what I deal with every day.

There was lots of drama about how (a) I don't have late addresses in the computer system yet because (b) we have to put notifications in the computer system that the early addresses were mailed to first and (c) we don't want confusion on that topic. Then there was whopping drama about (d) I have pieces of paper with all the addresses, but how do I get them to anyone in the office who isn't allowed to get into the database? and (e) the endless problem of how our younger employees are prevented from typing addresses into the system for Reasons.

How to sum it up?
"All I have to say is this is a trainwreck. This is ridiculous. We just spent 30 minutes. We are not curing cancer, people! This is ridiculous." -my boss
"I thought I was here to cure cancer! Thanks for bursting my bubble!" -Lioness
"I thought I heard it all. It worked for a while but it sounds like a disaster right now." -boss
"I don't think it's a disaster." -Penguin Girl, who has been there on this stuff and was super helpful in this meeting.

Generally speaking, this crap comes about because (a) there's little or no technical assistance, (b) we have to do ridiculous workarounds to get around that, and (c) we'e still limited as to who gets permission to do things and can never get around those stupid permissions.

Then we had to have Yet Another Emergency Special Meeting in which Grandboss declared that once the Important Documents get ordered, we should just mark off that they got mailed...a month before they actually do. I pointed out the pain points with this (i.e. virtually everyone is going to be SUPER CONFUSED) and she did not consider that to be important. *facepalm*

As for emails:

* I got one nice apology email from someone who missed the meeting because she was "out and about" and couldn't get Zoom to work over her phone in public. Well, shit happens, I appreciate your apology. I am a little baffled nobody else has so far said anything publicly about missing the meeting, but then again, this group may just not work for Zoom meetings. Whatever, it's gonna be up to them.'
* I got another apology email saying she just forgot (which well, I figure everyone else did too!) and that she feels "overextended" and is now going to take a hiatus. To which I was all, um..... please don't feel like you need to do that because of me (ouch) even though I assume she may have other shit going on. She said as much when I checked in with her later, since we're in storytelling class together again right now.
* Mom is being very understanding about my saying no. Like, super nice about it. Like a lot nicer than you'd think, even.
* Heard back from the playwright again, I am still enjoying that.

And as for my texts, I got an adorable one from Shanna about the pics I sent of my Scott and she said, "He is so cute! I would definitely wait for him which means I would 'allow him' for love allows. :)"

The last night of storytelling class went great tonight, we had everyone show up and everything. A few people did new stories at the end, but most of them retold previous stories and did them even better.

From the first week, we had the retelling of the "Manteca Idol" story with new lines like "My dad is a karaoke star in Manteca," singing "You Can't Hurry Love in a Black Panther outfit, her mom buying her a country costume and "I'm going to give you a little piece of straw to chew on" (while singing?!), her dad saying "Just go up there and have fun" and her mom adding, "And WIN." The lady who did the story about racism did it again--not a story that has spanky lines per se, but still hit the heart. From the second week, we covered the elevator story, in which he decided to go with being seven years old, but has learned about stuff like sex and weed from listening to his dad's rap music, and he made a good tie-in to thinking people might think they're having sex in there since his grandma is stripping. He also pointed out that smoking the pot chilled out his grandma enough that she could think to press the button for help. I had a few bits of advice for the Exposure Scavenger Hunt story, like she needed to put back some snappy lines. I did like the line, "I was doing fine until I wasn't," which....yeah, relating. Around the end of the talking bit she said, "Also I'm sorry you're all in my head now. Not a fun place."

Vita told a story about her first crush ("another story of 12-year-old childhood trauma") and how things were going well with chatting on AIM and him being cool enough to like Nirvana and whatnot, until they were about to hug and he said, "Sorry, I'm just not ready." Buuuuurn! She also mentioned that she hates pink but was having a brief phase of wearing it, which led someone else to suggest that she blame all the pink on 9/11. The final story was about a California girl who was in Charlotte, NC for a conference and ended up in a bar that was kind of freaking her out--it had a bunch of parakeets, not too many people, getting stared at weird (though the band was all excited to have someone from California there), she's still in her conference outfit because she got lost....and then she notices the giant Confederate flag in the bar and quietly freaks out, but doesn't feel like she can leave for a while so she can get out inconspicuously. I said that reminded me of Walt wearing his MAGA hat in the bar. I also said the bar sounded like the Tiki Room and she was all, "It was not cool, it was not cute like the Tiki Room."

As for mine, I did "Is This Love" again with a bunch of new details added and they said they appreciated that I made the changes they asked for, I could just up the tension/explain what was going on with my feelings more. I want this thing but I don't know what to do. I have since added that in. I did get dubbed the "sign connoisseur." for nitpicking about "I Will Wait" maybe not being a sign...hahahah, yeah, but that is what I thought at the time. I got told to edit down the number of license plate references. Why am I getting all these signs? Because this isn't happening as quickly as I might have liked, what do I do, he's not ready, etc. Someone asked what I would have done if "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?" had come on the radio and I said probably start yelling, "THAT'S WHAT I WAS ASKING!!!" Someone told me she liked the line "the universe chose me for the weird stuff," and I said that should go on my tombstone.

At the end, Lisa said that she always wants to say at the end of every class that they're the best ones, but this is a 201 class, so of course ours would be better than anyone else's! Huzzah!

Quotes from the Washington Post: The pandemic has separated people. Science suggests this may make their hearts grow fonder.. Now, in all honesty this is not a concept I believe in, because absence also makes the heart go yonder when you are trying to get over exes, so why do we do one to get someone out of our hearts entirely and yet act like the former is going to happen? At some point your feelings are just gonna starve to death with nothing new to feed on, is the general idea of that. Hell, even TV Tropes says "Odds of a relationship surviving a physical separation depends largely on two things: the commitment of the parties involved, and the duration of the separation compared to the duration of the relationship prior to the separation (and the ease of making the separation seem less: compare a long video chat with a terse E-mail). A new romance is likely to be nipped in the bud, but an older flame is likely to grow stronger if the two in question are determined to keep it alive." Clearly all of this is a giant fail between him and me so far.

But hey, let's hear the Washington Post science that shit and see who's right?

""Week after week, our affections for distant loved ones seems to expand. But does scientific research prove the saying is true?

She co-authored a paper that asked, “What is it that really cements bonds over time? What is it that keeps us coming back for more?” she says. “And a big part of that is this desire to reunite.”

A couple of days after one of these voles had become its mate, though, more cells activated when it was about to run to this mate rather than the unknown vole. And two weeks after that - when the mating voles had had even more time to bond - the cluster of activated cells became even larger.

“These cells might be saying, ‘You should go reunite with your partner,’” Donaldson says. This brain activity “drives them to want to be with their partners, presumably because it’s rewarding.” With human brains expected to react in the same way, this suggests we’re also highly, biologically motivated to return to the people who matter.
Donaldson illustrates this with an anecdote about two of her lab students, who finally saw each other after the local stay-at-home order lifted. “Without even thinking, they ran across the store to give each other a hug, which you’re totally not supposed to do,” she says. “But the way they both explained it was that they just couldn’t help themselves, they were so excited to see each other.”

“Our lonely subjects showed more activity in reward-related regions when they were looking at their loved ones” than when they were looking at strangers, says Eisenberger. This contrasts with less lonely people, whose brains showed about the same amount of activity no matter whose photo they viewed. “This fits in with the idea that when you are feeling disconnected from others, there’s more reward associated with seeing those others again.”

Additional studies indicate that geographically distant people may try harder than others to maintain their bonds.
One study looked at 63 young couples. Those in long-distance relationships discussed deeper issues with each other and had more meaningful interactions than couples who were geographically close.
If people who lived far apart hadn’t spoken for a while, their next phone call lasted longer. The researchers say this indicates that people generally want to invest more in a relationship when there’s a risk that time and distance have started to make a rift."

Well. God, I hope that's happening for him. But I don't know how to deal with the "risk that time and distance have started to make a rift" bit. I'm just stumped as to what to even talk to him about any more, I don't want to be just "how are you?" "fine" stuff. I can't just be all "Yeah, I'm NOT fine...." because I know he'd be at least a bit more worried about that than other people are and there's really nothing he can do about it, like hug me. (Which I really goddamned need and can't ever have again.) If I stay utterly apart from him, it's not like the psychic radar he does in person works at a distance, so he has no idea and can't get concerned. I came to the conclusion that's the heart of why I can't talk to him: I wish he could at least hug me and he can't and that's not something I can put on anyone anyway, especially now. I can't go dumping feelings shit on him and I'm tempted to. (Note: must talk to therapist about this.) He's not ready, may never be, and since everything has been put on deep freeze for possibly forever, that's probably never going to get better, right?

Our connection, such as it was, was more of an in-person thing, and I just don't know how to translate it into texting for years on end when it's not like we can talk about the plays we're in together or hanging out or recent Internet pop culture he can't see and god knows I can't talk about my feelings (nor do I want to if he's not ready yet), so fuck, I don't know.

I keep thinking of something else from the Washington Post: "What a humble tragedy it would be if you talked yourself out of that impulse just because you thought remaining estranged was the smarter thing to do."

However, I think neither of us can manage it and whatever this was is just going to end until the pandemic is over. Maybe that's what's supposed to happen because he can't get over his shit without being utterly alone for years, if that's what it takes. Maybe remaining estranged is the smarter thing to do. I hate it, but I'll do whatever's better for him and if having no contact with me for years is what makes him feel better or less scared or whatever the fuck it is, maybe I should just shut up. If I don't contact him and scare him or pressure him by trying to communicate unnaturally for him or whatever, maybe then he'll eventually be fine.

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