0180 - That's not what I am. - 2021.03.15



I've been watching the new Duck Tales reboot, and one of the plot elements I really appreciate is how Donald Duck's speech impediment isolates him, and how that isolation feeds back into his anger issues. I mean, if you know any two things about Donald, you know he has 1) a weird quacking voice and 2) rage issues, but this iteration of the Ducks is the first time I've seen those two traits clearly shown to be related, a vicious cycle of incoherent quacking and violence.

There are few things more frustrating than an inability to communicate, especially when you reach the point of flustered, wheel-spinning, emotionally-flooded but-but-but-but - a state most commonly achieved when you feel you have to defend yourself. I can empathize with Donald, overwhelmed by rage at a world that refuses to take you seriously, lashing out at the inanimate objects around you, doing more damage to yourself than to anything else, certainly not making any progress or expressing yourself any more coherently.

Caleb has trouble expressing themself. (Pro-tip for my fellow writers: want to make sure your characters have a distinctive "voice"? Just slap on a stutter!) Fortunately for all concerned, they have a firmer grip on their anger than Donald Duck does, likely because an iron-clad self-control was both wired and trained into them the same way their millisecond reaction time and stoic resistance to pain were.

Caleb doesn't want to be misunderstood. Caleb doesn't want to be feared. Caleb doesn't want to be used as a threat, even if the cause for which they're being used is one they might happen to agree with.

As I wrote in The Paladin's Guide To Life (which you can buy on Amazon, or read the PDF on Patreon for as little as $1/month!), "Some people are not as good at communicating as others ... That just means you have to listen more carefully.". Caleb hasn't been listened to, and Lee and Zoa need to make a deliberate effort to do that. Like Zoa, I am also looking forward to people being pleased, and I'm sure you are too.


0180 - 2167/07/06/16:28 - sidewalk.
Zoa: As much I hate overplaying this card... Lee, I would benefit from you getting up and going back inside. You can get comfortable, read the syllabus, and pick out food and clothes for tomorrow's class. That would all help me.
Zoa: Would you do it for your emotional support buddy, huh?
LC: You don't have to manipulate me like that.
Zoa: I... I'm literally trying to... I mean, I'm asking you to do a...
Zoa: Y'know what? Okay. How about this? Do it, or the big scary soldier person over here might start getting mad at you.
LC: Whoa!
CP: Zoa, th-that... please d-d-... I'm not a... I didn't want t-...
CP: That's not what I am!
Zoa: Okay, yeah, that was obviously too far. My bad. I'm sorry, Mezzer Paratta, I won't use you as the stick to my carrot again.
CP: M-my past... my capabilities... my appearance... do not, in and of themselves, c-constitute a threat, physical or otherwise, and I-I-I-I actively re-repudia-responsib-reJECT any unauthorized use of my... my me as a t-t-tool or an advertisement or a... a... a... coercion...
LC: In Zoa's defense, it didn't say you were going to hurt me, it said you were going to get mad. Which you... certainly can do. You're entitled to it. It's... it's not a bad thing, to be angry.
LC: And... and admittedly, that would motivate me.
LC: Or... or if you were sad, or disappointed, or demotivated, or... or feel anything negative as a result of my actions. I think any of that would... well, it would freak me out, honestly.
CP: It.. it would?
LC: Well, yeah. I don't ever want to make anyone upset or feel bad things because of me. I'm ... I'm a people-pleaser at heart.
Zoa: Yeah, I'm really looking forward to seeing you please a person.