Thursday, March 05, 2015

"They," "Them," and Me

I've spent an inordinate amount of time, over the course of my life, pondering the riddle of how I can be a part of humanity and yet so often feel totally apart from it. I've come to the conclusion that I view my relation to other people...and specifically to heterosexuals...rather like a cat or dog views people: living among them every day, quite fond of a number of them, hungry for and appreciative of positive attention from them, and yet having absolutely no concept of what it's like to be one of them.

Of course, I suspect that I may not be alone in viewing the rest of humanity as some strange, conglomerate "They." And again, one of the reasons I write these blogs is an attempt to let those who might have similar thoughts and views on matters seldom talked—or probably even consciously thought--about know they're not alone. Too often I see my relationship to the rest of humanity as not only a matter of "me" and “them”—-but often as a matter of "me" versus "them". 

From my infinitely limited perspective, in looking at the rest of humanity as "They," I'm painfully aware that "They" have the unquestioned and overwhelming advantage in everything. "They" glide effortlessly from day to day, cutting through the life's problems like the bow of a ship cuts through a stormy sea, unfazed. 

"They" know not only how to read instruction manuals, but how to understand them. ("Carefully undigitize the Prenalyzer from the Bliggerostometer before attaching the Spratzer, then insert Tab A into Slot B.” Of course! What could be simpler?) For "them," Tab A always, always slips into Slot B without the slightest effort.

When a box of cereal says "lift flap to open," "They" simply lift the flap and the box opens. They don't end up tearing the lid off the box in frustration. And they can close the box again, too, by slipping the tab into the slot. "They" can open a bag of potato chips without spending five minutes tugging and pulling with mounting frenzy until it bursts open with such force that it scatters the contents of the bag all over the room. 

"They" can confidently order something online—a pair of pants, say—and, when the package arrives, open it, put on the pants, and go happily on with their business. I have never, ever, ordered any piece of clothing on line that fit, let alone bore the vaguest resemblance to the item’s illustration in the catalog from which I ordered it.

In social situations, "They" always blend in seamlessly with everyone in attendance. "They" always have something interesting or profound or witty to say, and all the other "They's" hang on to every word, laugh at every joke and understand everything everyone else is talking about. If music and dancing are involved "They" unselfconsciously and with great enthusiasm move to the rhythm. "They" all know how to dance, and move gracefully when not dancing. When engaged in conversation with several people at once, "They" speak in complete sentences. "They" never have to stop ten seconds after saying something and wish they'd said it differently. When witty repartee is called for, "They" are at the top of their game, thrusting and parrying to the delight of all. "They" are bubbly as champagne; I tend to be more like stale beer.

"They" are almost never unsure of themselves. "They" waste little second-guessing their actions. "They" are confident of every decision and accepting of—even if not always happy with—the outcome. "They" don't spend inordinate amounts of time wishing they had done something they had not done, or wishing they hadn't done something they did do. "They" accept the past and move on without more than an occasional backward glance.

Still, it's oddly, if wishfully, comforting to think that there might be a sufficient number of others who think and feel as I do so that I might be able to think less in terms of “me” and more in terms of “us.” I’d like that.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

Kinda thinking "they" don't actually exist. If so, I've never run into them. Pretty much every single person I know is dysfunctional.