heyrick1973 -at- yahoo -dot- co -dot uk

How do you say that in French?

One of the girls at work called me something. I don't recall the word now, and it wasn't one I knew. So I looked it up and thought "huh?".
I think I knew what she was getting at, so I asked her if she meant I was "espiègle".

She was horrified.

Well... I dunno. Google translate says that meant "playful".

So I thought - how would I describe myself? I know. Quirky. I rank fairly low on the Zooey Deschanel scale of quirkiness, but I'm proud to be a little more than boringly normal.
[notice - psychology students - that I see it as more than normal, not less than...]

Problem.
There is no French word for quirky. I can call myself a lunatique, or biscornu (which actually means crooked (as in a crooked deal)). Or by the phrases "tout en finesse" or "en faux fuyants". Given fuyant means elusive, I figure, even with 'faux' prefixed, it will be far from an ideal translation.

So I look it up in Wiki, which was amusing...
The first five are in most people regarded as eccentric:

  • Nonconforming attitude - check!
  • Creative - yup
  • Intense curiosity - uh-hu
  • Idealistic - I'd say leaning towards cynicism, but it's an ideology, no?
  • Happy obsession with a hobby or hobbies - one of my ancient pseudos was "The Happy Hacker"
  • Known very early in his or her childhood they were different from others - damn right, I'm me
  • Highly intelligent - I'd like to say so, others might disagree :-)
  • Opinionated and outspoken - in person, no. in this electronic reality, yeah, kinda...
  • Unusual living or eating habits - no comment!
  • Not interested in the opinions or company of others - :-)
  • Mischievous sense of humor - which is what the girl was getting at
  • Single - I'm not single when I have myself for company... oh, wait...
  • Usually the eldest or an only child - only
So I pretty much make a mark across the board. I mean, I'm not a typical English fuddy-duddy eccentric. My problem isn't an inability to arrive at a coherent thought. My problem is having so damn many thoughts that sorting them into coherent order can be difficult. This may be why they 'tolerate' my MP3 player at work. I am discreet with it, and as I work alone it helps me focus and do my work. Though, if you are one of those sorts of people who perceive music to be a distraction, I know you will never possibly understand how not having it could be a distraction. [and don't bother arguing - if you Google, you'll see that for some people, this is actually very true]

I don't do wordplay, a trend classic to eccentrics and hackers alike (Split-P soup being a lovely example). I have accepted some Japanese onomatopoeia into my speech (doki-doki, kira-kira...), but this isn't a big deal given how few people ever actually listen to me... <sigh>

But, at the end of it, we arrive at a possible word. Eccentric.
I'd have prefered Quirky, as the connotations are subtley different. But, tant pis, we'll just go for the word "Excentrique".
At the end if it all, she looked at me and said "Ah bon?". <sigh>

 

Quirky or a mass murderer?

Speaking of checking off a list of options, a few years ago (2001, eek, almost a decade!), I was reading up on Columbine and how all the trenchcoat-wearing rock-listening social misfits were singled out as being the sort likely to go on a bullet-laden rampage, somehow not realising that taking a misfit and making them feel even more segregated is, you know, totally not the answer. Indeed, it would help said misfits justify their approach to life.
Some people don't fit in, some people just don't fit in. It is a fact of life. Look at the TV programmes set in American high schools - Glee, Popular, My So-Called Life, early Buffy, etc. It looks like the epitome of high school life is being a "football" (if you accept that the game is called football) jock or a cheerleader. Which, to me, seems like such a waste of time. So you get to wear a cute outfit to class or kick a ball around a field. How does this translate to being useful for anything after school days? There are some people who are more introverted, shy, or equally figure it's a pretty pathetic pursuit, and these people won't fit in to a world like that, especially a world obsessed with "celebrity" and status. Trust me, for I've been there. The only difference between myself and many others is I don't give much of a damn about what your opinions are. If you like me, great. That's nice. Email me, get in touch. If you don't like me... just go back to Google or whereever and find a different blog to read.
This isn't to say I don't understand that some people go all emo as a rebellion against their parents. It happens, but it is a pretty lame excuse. If you are going to pick a stance and take it, it should be because it is who you feel you are. If you do it "just to annoy daddy", then where's your motivation? If you detest your elders that much, why do you even care what they think?

Anyway - point is, there was a list of "classic danger signs" that people should watch out for. Single, lives with mother, likes wearing black, likes specific types of music, blah-de-blah. And, you know, I pretty much ticked all of those boxes too.
Does that make me viable as a suspect for the next school or workplace shooting?
Like f*** it does.
I don't have the list to hand, so I'll go by what I remember, with annotations.

  • Single. And? Unlike some people, I don't have the desire to lay every girl I come into contact with. I am happy to wait for the right girl, even if this risks me dying a virgin. Why? Because of those people I know, few are happily married, more are putting on a facade but argue about trivialities when they think nobody is listening, more are divorced - some bitterly, and a couple never settled down with anybody. One got HIV and died of pneumonia.
    I can do without that sort of thing. A relationship should be something happy (idealistic, no?).
  • Lives with parents/mother. Yup. We look after each other in a way. She spent many years of her life caring for me, and as she gets older there will come a day when the roles are exchanged. As for my male role model, father is dead. So you see, there is a logical reason to this too.
  • Likes wearing black. It isn't just a hacker stereotype, I have always liked wearing black. Perhaps it makes me a little less noticable?
  • Likes pain-laden rock. I'm no fan of Marilyn Manson or Slipknot, but I like Evanescence. Different people express their pain in different ways. Some people get angry, some people wail. And there we have the fundamental difference between rock and country.
    Some people like stuff that can't even be described as "music" (I would point my finger at a lot of Ministry of Sound productions here). But oddly enough, as childish as it seems, I also like Dango Daikazoku, along with the pain of Chihiro Onitsuka and the perkiness of Ai Ōtsuka. I may have a highly eclectic taste in music, but I don't think I'm alone. Even a hardened emo will have something they like that is way off of the expected, even if they aren't quite brave enough to stick it into their playlist.
    Addendum: I don't so much like artists as specific songs. For example, when I was younger I "generally liked" Erasure and The Pet Shop Boys. Some of their songs were great, while others were stink beyond the telling of it. I "generally like" Jewel, even if this means I need to purposefully overlook the religious leanings in her more recent songs (gee, an album called "Spirit", there's perhaps a clue in the title?). Throw in Laura Pausini and... well, you get the point. Some of the music I like is seriously heavy emotion, some is upbeat, some sounds like a child who's missed a week of her Ritalin. It spans loads of genres and decades and <cough> languages. So don't just pick the one that fits the preconception.
  • Loner. Pretty much a way of life. I spent years feeling misunderstood, which evolved into no longer really caring. I know my logic process frequently makes blinding sense and, equally frequently, makes a sort of sense that people are shocked by. I am fairly blunt, and pretty tactless. But only in writing, like here. In person, I can pass a day with barely saying a word out loud. That's just the way I am. I guess until Perfect Girl comes along, I'll be alone. Oh well.
  • Other stuff... I forget.
Point is, none of this stereotype is going to make me walk into my old school with a semi-automatic and a grudge. We, as a species, seem only too willing to slay each other over mere differences of opinion, be it a teacher who you felt victimised you, or a dictator who you felt victimised your oil supplies. - see what I did there? Did you see? How can society defend Iraq and what went on there, while condemning school shootings? Both are evil, and no pile of flimsy excuses is going make either seem acceptable. [and there is a good example of my logic process at work; if you feel you can put up a good argument, please use the comments form below, but I request that you graciously see the disaster wrought upon Iraq for the least eight-odd years for what it really is, rather than the idealised version where everybody is a happy shining capitalist-loving ray of sunshine]

 

So, there you have it. I'm happily quirky, but no murderer. It's all a bunch of lame-ass profiling anyway. A "compelling" (in their minds) reason to differentiate people now that it is illegal to openly discriminate on skin shade, sexuality, or gender. And, like the wanton desctruction of civil liberties in the hunt for terrorists (who mostly don't exist) and paedophiles (who mostly don't exist), a mass voice of society (which has oft been shown to be dumber than even the stupidest members of said society) will be all for stamping out those who could prove to be a threat to their way of life. Meanwhile the ones who really threaten to destroy said society - the CEOs and magnates and investment bankers... they are idolised, living in the realm of a supposed glory. Having damn nearly destroyed the economy of an entire country, leaving its citizens with unimaginable debt, plus bursting the bubble in countries across the globe... these are people we're supposed to respect? What was I saying about society being stupid?

Heh, and people accuse me of not being "normal". If this is what normal is, then I'll take that as a compliment!

 

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