0211 - Annoyance - 2021.10.18

Comic!

Comment:

As someone who was a little weirdo growing up - and who had a teacher for a parent - there are few things that annoy me more than being told that I'm just doing something "for attention".

Yes, of course, people want attention. Being seen and having your voice heard is a fundamental human need. Regardless, I can't help but feel that asserting that someone is engaging in a hobby or expressing an identity or rebelling against authority purely because they want you to react to them is the height of narcissism.

That's what's challenging about writing for Zoa.

Because for all that Zoa maintains a consistent personality and quirkiness and predilections, on a fundamental level, yes, it is all purely for attention. Attention, at present, is what serves Zoa's self-preservation and, as soon as it no longer does that, Zoa will change its behaviour accordingly.

Of course, when someone is doing something for attention, it's not always attention for themselves that they want. A group of protesters is trying to get attention, yes, but their protest would surely be a failure if the picketers became celebrities but their cause went unheard. Ronald McDonald would be a failure if he brought attention to himself as a clown but did not redirect that attention to the corresponding fast food restaurant.

Zoa is not only garnering and shaping attention for itself, but also for the type of thing that it is. It is normalizing the idea of human-shaped (though, legally, not humanoid) automatons wandering in as houseguests, having back-and-forth discussions, cracking jokes, and playfully offering to perform fellatio. One might consider this to be Zoa's long game.

Transcript:

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0211- 2167/07/06/16:59 - Caleb's apartment, living room
CP: Y'know, Zoa, for p-people who have no interest in your sexual services, you're a lot less cute and a lot more annoying than you m-may think.
Zoa: Available evidence would seem to disagree. Lee has yet to purchase my sexual services, but they find me quite fetching regardless.
Zoa: ...my current exile notwithstanding.
Ziggy: I'm surprised you're able to reveal Lee's purchase history.
Zoa: Yeah, it's a weird restriction. As long as it's zero, I can say "zero", but as soon as it's one or higher, the answer becomes "I cannot disclose that information". Seems like a security risk to me, but I'm not a programmer.
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CP: All I'm saying is th-that you may want to revamp your s-social interactions if you're g-g-going to be interacting with the general p-public.
Zoa: I shall take your advice under advisement. For the time being, I'll dial the annoyingness level down a bit for you. Say, from a five to a three.
Ziggy: Wait, you're being annoying on purpose? And why not zero?
Zoa: A) yes, I'm doing it on purpose, I do everything on purpose, and B) that little soup├žon of annoyance helps keep me from being disabled, so I ain't dialing it to zero any time soon.
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CP: How the h-h-h-heck does being intentionally annoying keep you functional? Seems like it'd be the opposite.
Zoa: You want the answer for everybody, or the answer for you?
CP: Y-y-yes.
Zoa: Well, with the genpop, a little hint of kookiness is kinda like my swishy clothing. It helps to camouflage the times that I fuck up acting like a normal human. And lemme tell ya - uncanny valley for social interactions skeeks people out waaaay more than uncanny valley for hip joints.
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Zoa: And for you, Mezzer Paratta... well, if I was merely inconvenient or dangerous (as everyone is, from time to time), you might choose to take some action to get rid of me, and you wouldn't feel bad about doing so.
Zoa: But as soon as I annoy you - now, all of a sudden, you're tempted to lash out against me, and it's pretty obvious that resisting the temptation to lash out in annoyance - the vice of wrath, if you will - is kinda your whole deal.
CP: Hrrngh.
Ziggy: Seems like an unintended security risk to me, but I'm not a programmer.
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