Let me ask you a question. Pretend that you have an active social life. I don’t, but I’m game for the make believe. Join me.
So, you have this active social life. This ASL. And your ASL is comprised of people with whom you share little experience. This is an adult ASL, separated from the lives of your college roommates and those retarded (in the literal sense) relationships you maintain with a few childhood friends. This ASL is grown-up and consequently boring. Usually. Your contribution, anyway.
Here’s the scenario: Upon wrapping up an evening of mildly entertaining banter– massaging your overly exerted friendly smile lips back over your teeth and restraining your bobbling head– you take a seat for a moment of quiet. And then you realize, with no real surprise, that you are an absolute twat.
Here’s the question: Does this happen to you often? Are you mostly confident that you have effectively preempted the expansion of your ASL– mundane though it may be, and a little soul-squelching– simply by taking part in it? Do you think it would be a favor to humanity were you to publicly declare yourself permanently ostracized from future soirees? Are you pretty sure it’s best to auto-alienate?
I watched a lecture yesterday about oxytocin. Turns out, it’s the key to compassion. It’s the hormone released by moms during birth and breastfeeding, mostly to ensure that they love their wee ones even if they are tearing them apart and gnawing on their nipples. Yay evolution! Without knowing anymore on the topic than what I learned thanks to the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts and Something and Something, I’m trying to decide if oxytocin isn’t also the key to manipulating and terrorizing already highly empathetic souls. As in, was it an overflow of oxytocin that persuaded me I’d pretty much ruined lunch when I said, “It’s hard to be a good misogynist with a pussy”? The RSA told me that watching cancer babies will cause oxytocin to flow. I think airplane movies and the Olympics backstories also break the dam. Can it also be released by the wrong words uttered by the person with a limited ASL who is pretty sure she should just get back to her desk? Anxious, in fact?
Anyhoo, there’s also this, a scathing Taibi blog post about just how cynical candidate Romney really is. The post and the story behind it are both the opposite of oxytocin-releasing. To me, they illustrate the other side of the oxytocin world. It’s a more dominant world, fueled by testosterone and surely in need of a good dose of that google commercial that made everyone weep. It’s apparently a world where no one feels sure they’ve ruined everything merely by leaving the house.
And to be clear, in my ASL, I always come home thinking I crapped my pants.