Twenty eleven. Here we are in the future. With our future communicators and our try-better-the-second-time marriages. My telephone tells me where bars are and when the bus is coming. It tells me when I should be guilty that I forgot someone’s birthday, and when a girl from Ohio is getting her period. But what it doesn’t do is tell you what you want to hear. That’s the dream, isn’t it? The Star Trek:TNG dream. Unisex rompers and consequence-free adventures to the edge of clean, inhuman technology. But nobody ever accidentally sent Picard a link to some porn and had to pussyfoot around him for a few days at work afraid he was gonna get hit with an HR beef. Counselor Troi never avoided getting on the turbolift because Geordi got drunk and tried to push up on her a little too hard at a party. Humanity, it turns out, is a real dirty messy business with lots of agendas and not a lot of transparency.
Every new social tech increases exposure well before it finally creates etiquette (which is frequently ignored). And with that increased exposure, no matter how honest or dishonest, deep or shallow, it is easy to over estimate the true intimacy of relationships. It’s natural, people are machines of want, and want is about possessive desire — we are _all_ natural stalkers of the subjects, objects, and people that stoke our passion. But sometimes, somewhere between the facebook and twitter and buzz and bloggytextfoursquares, the _person_ starts to lose out to the preconceptions you are bringing with you. And when it’s someone you’re romantically interested in, it is easy to wish that every line was meant for you, to wish that they hang on your every response and think about you constantly. To scheme for attention, to scrutinize for meaning, to overthink and maneuver and extort. It’s an insane, singular psychological investment called “emotional frontloading”. This is the insanity that makes you wonder if a girl you’ve never exchanged twelve words loves you. It’s what makes you resent people you like because they don’t understand you instantly, or more specifically because they don’t embrace you unconditionally simply based on the (objectively completely invisible and meaningless) work you’ve already put into caring about them.
It’s unfair. It’s a unidirectional type of affection which is more closely related to ownership than romance. It’s branding, not in the marketing sense but in the cattle sense. LOVE as a leash, a label, and a lash. Again, something that denies the essential humanity of others, attempts to simplify them so they fit into your preconceived emotional/interpersonal destination. Maneuver, maneuver, maneuver. A childlike idea of conquest, that people, like games, can be won completely with sufficient strength and sneakiness.
My only hard-set goal in 2011 is to – recognize when I am; accept the truth of; and finally _stop_ – emotionally frontloading. Treat people like people. Make fewer assumptions. And continue to build my life of purpose and honesty as best I can.