Skip to content

thinking proportionally

April 5, 2014

On days when I have a splitting headache (like today), I often find my thoughts go to strange places. Places I can only visit, apparently, when normal brain functioning is disrupted.

I could take an aspirin, but I hate the taste, and it probably wouldn’t work anyway.

Beyond that, though, so much of my life is interleaved with proportions, that I think they must be . . . somehow, part of my synesthesia. And as such, “normal” brain functioning disrupted by a headache (or any other reason really) seems analogous to . . . flavor notes.

(I’ve been using a lot of taste and smell metaphors in my thought processes lately. It’s comforting to think that all flavor notes . . . occupy an important place in my overall flavor profile. I’m a mosaic, I’m a tapestry — but this particular metaphor has the advantage of being more relevant to most people — almost everyone can smell or taste flavor notes and flavor profiles, while fewer people have created mosaics or tapestries.)


I can feel all the bones in my head, and none of them are happy. Ugh.


Okay, I started out by thinking about evaluating opportunities. I really want to go away for two days to write. I want a quiet comfy place, near a large body of water (preferably an estuary). But at least a town nearby, so I have other places to walk to (as well as places to go eat). I just want to ramble around, thinking, feeling, and hopefully, writing.

I want to be minimally social with human beings, but possibly significantly social with nonhumans.

I don’t want to have to drive for hours and hours. I’d prefer not to drive at all — I’ve been looking at Amtrak a lot — but whether I drive, take a bus, or a train, it would be best if I was not sitting for hours and hours on end.

I’d like to spend $500 or less.


I found this wonderful place in Portland, Maine.

And then I started looking at how I might get there. Amtrak does go to Portland, Maine. But it’s complicated: I would ride a train from Baltimore to Boston’s Back Bay Station [7 hours]; I would have to find my own transportation from Back Bay Station to Boston’s North Station; then I would take either a bus, or a different train, from Boston to Portland [2–2.5 hours].

If I could just get on a train and take it for 10 hours . . . it’s a lot more sitting than I’d prefer, but I would just do it. And I have always wanted to take a really long train ride.

But the logistics here… And then once I arrived in Portland, I’d still have to find my own way to and from the B&B.

I could make this work.

Logistics (especially convoluted ones that require coordinating multiple efforts) . . . strain my brain something horrible. They require working against what my brain is good at.

Still, I could pull something together.

I can practically taste how delicious this trip to Portland, Maine, could be.


When I’m thinking with proportions, I often use numbers or percentages — not meant to be literal, but just a quick guesstimate, to help me figure out if my model makes any sense.

In this Portland, Maine, example, I estimate I have 1/3 of what I want; 2/3 of what I don’t want.

Those proportions . . . suck.

I have worked with less. And made them work, sort of. Usually to someone else’s standards, standards that I myself did not actually care about.

Since I don’t have a boss, and this isn’t a shitty job assignment, I can please myself.

I could make this work, but too much of the wrong kind of effort is involved.

I’m taking a pass on Portland.


I wonder if being genetically and behaviorally? inclined towards hoarding makes it harder for me to walk away from things that could work, if only I first drive myself into the ground kludging crap together?

Or is it just 40+ years of making the best of shit sandwiches, sure that those were the only options open to the likes of me. [Mrs. Nocerino: After all, your own family doesn’t love you! You’re a monster! You’re a waste of oxygen! Why would you “deserve” any better!??!]

I hate the whole concept of “deserving”.

% = +

I just now realized that, by getting blacklisted at one of the last jobs I had, for speaking truth to power, . . . I followed in the footsteps of my father, in the particular way I was sure I would never do. I am my father’s child after all. How unnerving.


I’m finding it very hard to think straight. But these ideas are . . . at least as intriguing as they are disturbing, so I’m going to continue muddling through.


Just like with how I need more Amelia in my life {proportions ftw!}, I need more opportunities that can get me to Flow. I need fewer opportunities that feel like me banging my head against the wall and sobbing with self-loathing.


When I was a teenager, looking ahead to college, I took a bunch of tests that were supposed to tell me what I was good at, and therefore, what majors I might enjoy, and/or what professions I might do well in.

Those tests told me (paraphrased) . . . “you’re so smart, you can do anything!” Even at the time, I knew that was bullshit. I most definitely was not good at everything, and I was well aware of that. I was really looking forward to finding out what to rule out. But supposedly, anything in the whole wide world that I tried, I would be a blazing success at!

I would laugh hysterically if I could summon the energy.

My work history is . . . all over the place. In the 24 years I worked, I had 24 or 25 jobs. I absolutely hated all but a handful of them.

The very best one that I had? I recently estimated that it offered me . . . approximately 1/3 of what I wanted; 2/3 of what I didn’t want.

I stayed there the longest, by far. Even though the last 12 months I was there were desperately miserable. But I couldn’t figure out . . . how to get to There from Here. That is, I didn’t know what I did want, but I was real sure on what I didn’t want. How do you move forward with that? What I did was . . . I quit. I didn’t have a job to go to. I had no idea what I wanted to do next, or what options were even available.

I got a part-time job. In the year I was there, I made 1/10 as much money as I’d made in the previous job. But I was actually happier. I still probably only had about 40% of what I wanted, but the proportions were moving in the right direction.


In all the time I was working, I almost never ran across . . . stuff that I was really good at and enjoyed doing that also turned out to be valued by . . . well, anybody else. There were lots of things I was really good at that I didn’t enjoy much. And they rarely paid well. (I’m excellent at alphabetizing; I’m excellent at finding errors in columns of numbers or other data. These sorts of things have become automated.)

But the stuff I really sucked at was legion. For instance, I cannot be a Team Player. That’s just . . . not how my brain works. I have nothing against gossip — in fact, I quite enjoy hearing about stuff other people are doing that I think is interesting — but if we’re just going to sit around and discuss other people’s behavior so that we can police it for not being conformist enough . . . I’m not going to say much. Because I know it’s only a matter of time before the pitchforks come out for me.

And when my ADD/neurodiverse brain isn’t being used, it shuts down. When I doodled in meetings, or derived square roots by hand, or did crossword puzzles, it was to prevent myself from falling asleep.


Those days are supposedly behind me, now that I’m essentially retired. I’m free to do . . . whatever I want! Whatever I’m good at!

As far as I can tell, no one I know (besides Spouse, and sometimes not even him) is remotely interested in anything that I want to do, or am good at. So if I want to talk to other people, ever, we talk about what they want to talk about . . . which still shuts my brain off. Guess what? That still doesn’t help me make friends! Who knew?

If it wasn’t for this blog? I would go out of my mind.

Which is why I’m writing this blog post, even though I still have a migraine.

I think I’ve completely lost track of my starting point, but also where I thought I was going. Seems a good place to stop.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: