0117 - Boredom, empathy, and defragging - 2019.12.30



One of my favourite funny things to do with a character is to highlight a blind spot they have, to drive home how different they are from their own self-perception.

Lee isn't really wrong, of course. They do care about people. They do care about stories with emotional depth. They do care about how people interact with each other. They actually have a great deal of emotional intelligence... when it comes to Martian cartoon characters. Ironically, it is Lee's fear of awkwardness that makes them awkward, their fear of being a burden that makes them a burden, their fear of isolation that keeps them isolated, their fear of being unattractive that makes them unattractive, their fear of failure that makes them fail.

I've certainly been guilty of overthinking social situations before they happen. I've been scared of how people will react to me. I've tried to plot out how best to make people like me. I've rehearsed conversations and witty lines in my head before delivering them.

Like Lee, I've almost always been wrong, both about others and about myself.

Lee does care about people. Lee does not yet have people to care about. This is the central dissatisfaction, and dissatisfaction is meant to spur action.

But first, yes, Lee needs a nap. Despite how little they've actually accomplished, I do think they've earned it.


0117 - 2167/07/06/13:04 - Lee Caldavera's apartment, living room
TV: ...and, as the captives emerge from the cave into the sunlight, at first, their eyes would not be able to adjust to the brightness. There is a period of transition, of discomfort...
LC: This one is borrrring.
Zoa: It's not cartoon animals, sure, but it's only ten minutes.
[Lee makes a gesture to pause the video]
LC: It's just... there's no characters. There's no narrative. How am I supposed to care about something if it isn't people in a story?
Zoa: You connect to characters.
LC: Of course I do. I'm naturally empathic like that. I care about people.
Zoa: Yeah, but that natural empathy is making you latch on to people who aren't real.
Zoa: ...Which, now that I say it, strikes me as a behaviour pattern I should not discourage.
LC: I think I need a nap. Last night I was just passed out drunk, I don't think that's the same thing as sleep.
Zoa: Yes, good idea. Grab a little shuteye, a REM cycle or two, and we can get back at it as soon as your noggin's defragged.
LC: Mmn. We'll see.
Zoa: We will see more educational programming, yes.
LC: Mmnnnh.