“What’s the matter?”
“No, tell me.”
“Seriously, what’s wrong?”
“NOTHING’S wrong; I’m just working on this article.”
“Well you don’t have to be so rude.”
“I wasn’t — I’m just trying to work already.”
Apparently I don’t always “emote” (physically express my emotional state) the way people expect me to. Apparently my “thinking” face looks like a scowl.
“Are you annoyed with me?”
“No. You’re fine. I’m just thinking.”
(But if you keep bugging about why I am/not annoyed, I will probably become annoyed…)
Maybe I should research what a “thinking” face looks like. I’ve seen enough silent films to already know the postural and gestural manners: one hand on hip with another partly-curled over the mouth and looking down at something, or eyebrows up and scratching the top of the head with a forefinger. Problem is, I don’t naturally DO either of those.
Instead, I scowl and rock in my seat, or stare blankly off into space.
“What they hell are YOU looking at?!”
“Well quit staring at me!”
“I’m not. I was just looking out the window, and you happen to be in my field of vision.”
Like that explanation goes over well. But it’s true, honest!
(We won’t even go into the “thousand mile stare” in some random skyward direction while rapidly typing. Dunno why some people find that unnerving, but apparently they do.)
This lack of facial expressivity, or perhaps, interpersonal disconnectivity, also resulted in my mother deciding that I was “moping about”, which she did not find entertaining (sometimes she stated it was all a plot to annoy her).
So yeah, I’m “off in my own little world” (but whom else’s world would I be in?). Others around me might as well not be there, as far as social interaction goes. But that’s only the way it appears if you don’t realise what’s really going on.
I do know others are there — it’s hard to miss all that breathing and clomping about the room. In fact, I’m doing my darndest to ignore all that distracting noise and activity.
I’m not making faces at people. Shockingly, it has nothing to do with them. I know, it’s hard to imagine that if someone is facing in your direction, that they are not thinking about you.
I’m not ignoring people in the rude sense. I’m just thinking about something. Interrupting me to ask what I’m thinking about can in fact startle me so much that the required shifts in attention and subsequent auditory re-wind and processing will likely make the whatever-it-was evaporate from my working memory. That is annoying! Ditto snapping fingers in my face and chanting “Earth to Andrea!” and other clichés.
Curiously, so too it sometimes is with my children and others:
“Are you upset with me about something?
“No, I was just studying.”
I suppose it could be a learned behavior, but I suspect that it’s just wired into our brains this way. I know that decades of being chided for emoting the “wrong” way has not enabled me to effect any major changes, aside from sometimes remembering to not stare towards the humans. At least my tarantula, Rosie, doesn’t mind — when you don’t have eyelids, staring is only natural.