Code (of conduct) Library

I’m a geek and programmer. But there are constructs in programming that have a relative metaphor in real life. Case in point: the code library. In coding, it’s a command that is nice and concise, like print() that at the core is full of ugly commands, instructions and qualifiers. You say, print(“Hello”); and out pops “Hello” All of the machine language is hidden and compacted. What about a code of conduct library. Your life experience condenses from a set of ugly commands and controls into a reaction to input-- to stimuli. A code of conduct library. Let’s assume there is a code of conduct library. The function in discussion: trust().

Flashback to my childhood. For a variety of reasons, I have a really faulty trust mechanism. I think it's the peril of being from a single parent home. My daughter has two people hammering her with the messages, morals and the leadership of adults. Children from broken homes have one parent and a vaccuum. That leaves the people who almost as close as their parents: their friends. In a way, the collective of your friends becomes the surrogate parent. But really, who wants a multi-headed teenager as a parent? By definition, they're petty and immature. They commit this sort of erosion that forms you as an adult.

One friend used to run around me and shout, "I'm orbitting Mike!" He was the single-parent-nightmare poster child: at 12, his Dad gave Hash or 'shrooms or similar. Another friend came from a loving environment where his Dad threw hammers at him. The guy I'm get to later in this post was too much of a mixed-bag to go over here. Three boys you wouldn't let emotionally guide your pet hamster snugged into the emotional/parental void that you would leave for an adult. On the face it, they were good boys. They didn't drink (much); they weren't vandals (well, one of the four wasn't); they weren't into drugs (well, one of the four wasn't). They all came from emotionally crippled families. Like puppies that nip and bite, they didn't know that they puked out insensitivity. They didn't know they broke rule after rule of social norm.

The one thing this did well: they nosed after each other's romantic interests. Man, if anyone in the group liked someone, a couple of the group also liked her. It was really sad. It made you develop this retarded fortress mentality when you met a girl. Was it paranoid? Yes. Just because I think their chasing me, doesn't make it untrue. Three of them nipped for this mediocre shoe clerk. One guy tried to steal another's girlfriend on a camping trip. The other guy called me for a girl's phone number while I was trying to start something with her. The incident of note for me: it's the subject of this entry of the Code (of conduct) Library.

Move forward to my early adulthood. I was this hapless, dire idiot who thought in pitched, histrionic terms. Infatuation was love; dislike was a blood feud. Young people are stupid, and I was no exception. I fell for this girl/woman. We got along really well. The problem is: she sort of got along really well with a bunch of guys. In retrospect, it was hard to figure out if she and I really had a connection or if she was a social universal donor. Since then, I have met a number of women who were also universal donors. They send all the guys around her into a twitter. They all have a chance; she likes them; et cetera. One side effect of this early encounter is that I suss out universal donors and resist them. While all of the guys are eager to skate on the ice, I see the cracks.

I fell into the sway of this young woman. Months before, one of my friends had tried to woo her and splashed pretty bad. I got along with her and on a fateful Sunday night I asked her for a date. She said yes. I was ecstatic. We were to go out of the following Friday night. Five days to live in the clouds.

Back in this era my friends used to “forget” to invite me parties. They’d hang around my house; eat my food; play on my computer; get jobs from my Mom. But they would sometimes neglect to call me. On the Thursday night before my date, they had the chance to see this tribute band. From what I heard the band was good. I didn’t get the invite. C’est la vie. That’s not the big deal—not the core of this part of the code library.

What did happen there did stick. An old friend of mine was there. So was my soon-to-be date. This friend of mine had a little chat with my would-be date. A long conversation about me and she. A mutual friend overheard some of the conversation and related it to me; so much of the substance is a mystery. His plan: the scotch my chances. Sufficed to say; on Sunday she agreed to date Jo Blo; by the end of Thursday night, she was convinced she was hooking up with Ted Bundy. Why? Why would a friend who I had grown up do this? It turned out that he liked her. He could have shared this with me and I would have stayed away—he worked with her and I just knew her through them. Whatever his reason, so be it. He was practicing something I’ve come to call the “calm wedge.”

The calm wedge is something I haven’t mastered. I call a spade, a spade. My buddy did have it mastered. He would just smile, shrug, wedge and repeat.

So, I had my date with a slightly spooked woman. I was on cloud nine and totally infatuated. For her, she had escaped a beheading. Things were cordial from then on. I was totally obsessed and working hard not to go over the top. She still thought I was okay, but that was about it. My chances were zilch. With me out of the way, my old friend was free.

He had some cool tricks. My personal favorite was the “accidental run-in.” She shows up at the mall and voila—he’s just walking into the mall too? Why don’t they shop together? Why don’t they get to know each other better? What a lucky happenstance.

At the end of the day, he got what he wanted. I was in total misery. She was due to move overseas. He broke up with her supposedly because of the grief I was enduring. Truth of the matter, it didn’t matter. He got what he wanted and moved on. Maybe I was an excuse. A boogeyman. “Don’t make any sudden movements during the date.” “Mike is going to jump off a cliff, I have to buy you a ticket to Dumpsville.” Etc..

A classic trick: the blatant lie. One time he puked in my bed. Okay, there was a sliver of doubt. He walked into an empty room with a bed that was sans vomit. A moment later, he left a room that had a vomit deposit. Maybe it wasn’t him.

The one he was trying on until it broke: "always leave them wanting more." He's really aloof: playing video games, picking his toes and who knows what. You try to get ahold of him and nada. When you finally do make contact with this guy, you think, "I'm so lucky!" Yeah, you're not. I have accidentally done this to other friends and I regret that. Between, a daughter, job, family and feeling sick most of the time; sometimes I too am absent. People have written me off because I've been so aloof. I regret that, but I can understand their feelings and their actions. You dont want to have a friendship with an answering machine; or a blog comment field; or a gmail account. That is, unless those are all more interesting that the person behind them.

Fast forward to the current day. In almost two decades, I had long forgotten his contribution to my code library. I had forgiven him and mostly supressed the incident from that tribute band. He stopped talking to me seven months ago. I thought something was wrong so I would email and call. Nada. I was worried if he was in trouble. Turns out that he only stopped talking to me.
me: Is something wrong?
him: Nothing is wrong. Why? Why do you ask?
Is this the 2005 version of the calm wedge? Well, I am still calling a spade a spade. Nice game: you’ve tried this on me before. As a strange contrast: with the exception of one of his girlfriends, I have met all of his other girlfriends only once apiece. I guess should I ever try a homemade version of the wedge, he thought that with one visit I wouldn’t have an opportunity to practice it.

Unlike every other blog I have ever commented on, he actually deletes my comments. He snugs this into the "Nothing is wrong. Why? Why do you ask?" part of his behaviour. Could he have said, "I didn't like that. I'm taking it down"? No, that would be obvious and a contravention of the "calm" part of the calm wedge concept. Did I mention he's a big advocate of Free Speech? More to the point, he's a big advocate of "(what I agree with is) Free Speech." I, on the other hand, have taken heat for allowing even reprenhensible people speak their mind. I dislike a lot of what I hear, but if I shut it down, I would expect myself to be muzzled.

The power of the calm wedge, is that it takes very little effort; being sick with worry is a full time job. It’s like a Chinese finger trap. Unfortunately, I have picked up this gecko-like trait in the last few years. When a gecko is trapped and in trouble, it can drop its tail off of its body. The predator is left there staring at this squirming detached thing and the prey can escape. Stare at the detached tail, old friend.

I admit I have trust issues and I intend on working them through. Starting with my only counter to the wedge: He can go to Hell and stay there. I lost him as friend many years ago; he only stopped talking to me more recently.

To sum up with a code analogy:
if calm_wedge is on then:
trust() = none;
We'll see if I can rewrite that chunk of the code library to be a little more elaborate. In other words: keep the calm_wedge counter measures; gain some trust as well. Oh, and choose less emotionally disabled friends.


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