I am finding something of a balance, an equilibrium, at work. It has been a very stressful environment, with a group of humans who are nice, but who are immersed in a corporate culture of lack of direction, blame when you don’t know something (“well, you should have known that”), lack of recognition when you do something right, and general negativity and hatefulness.
Still, it’s a mission, and it pays enough to maintain the main bunker and the forward observation post. Remember, the Martian Empire expects its agents on this planet to pay their own way in local currency. It forces us to immerse ourselves in the culture of the locale to which we are assigned to observe, and it helps ensure that we do not attract attention to ourselves if we were seen to exist in the local society “without visible means of support”.
I am counting the local days until I can switch to another mission. Meanwhile, I am taking what pleasure I can in the things I enjoy. My body’s health is good. I am not currently subject to the ravages of war, disease, famine, or pestilence. All of my basic needs are met. I cannot ask for anything more. All I have to do is wait.
In other news, I spoke with an acquaintance about prosopagnosia (most humans look alike to me – I mainly distinguish them by hairstyle, stature, movement patterns, and voiceprint). She said she also doesn’t recognize people, but it’s because she does not look at them unless she has a reason to interact with them, and then she will only recognize them if they are in the context of her normal interaction with them, such as at work or at school or in the neighborhood. She told me a story of how she was at a library with her children, and the elderly female security guard walked over to her. The guard said that she was retiring at the end of the week, and she would miss seeing my acquaintance and my acquaintance’s family on a regular basis the way the guard had seen them for the past 15 years.
My acquaintance said that she was taken aback by the security guard’s remark. My acquaintance had never even noticed the security guard, yet the security guard was quite familiar with my acquaintance and her children. My acquaintance found the security guard’s comments disturbing and unsettling. I would have found them flattering, because I specialize in not being noticed. I would also have expected the security guard to be aware of the people who frequent the library – that’s her job. Finally, I would have felt badly if the security guard had noticed me and watched me for 15 years, yet I had never noticed her. I try to notice the staff of buildings or organizations that I frequent, and I speak with them and try to learn their names, and I thank them for doing their jobs. Humans like to be recognized, and I try to humor them. It’s good practice for moving through society, and you never know when you will need their help, so it is wise not to ignore them.
The story my acquaintance told reminded me that we all have an impact on the lives of everyone we encounter, in small ways or in large ways, and often we never even know it. And I inferred something about my acquaintance: she had been stalked, attacked and/or abused in the past, which would explain her negative reaction at being noticed by someone.