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“That's just Rinzler.” It's always just Rinzler, or that man, or that elf. Do they think I don't hear? Just because I'm not watching them, talking back to every little thing that I'm obviously not a part of, does everyone really think that I'm not there? The alternative is no better. Either I say nothing, and within hours they talk about me like I'm not here, or I do talk, and within the hour everyone is telling me to shut up. Unless I'm talking about something they happen to be interested in, but that’s also fleeting. I don’t recall if I came to a definite conclusion; is it related to their depth of knowledge, their strength of interest, or is there just a flat limit to the amount a single person can listen to about a single topic? A subset of people will listen significantly longer, obviously, but most of them are almost entirely in it for the spectacle of watching someone talk for that length about ‘nothing in particular.’ It also obviously excludes the people that just generally detest silence; they aren’t really listening. Everything's interesting if you look at it closely enough; I’ll never understand why so few people understand that, but most everyone is content with a tiny piece of everything or something, and can't be bothered with things outside of it. How nice it must be, to sit contentedly on one topic, but my options remain to either split my focus and allow everyone else to fixate on their conversation, labelling myself as the rude one, or aloof one, or arrogant, or isolated, or insensitive, derisive, callus, unfriendly, strange, or else derail them with my full focus and get berated for that, obnoxious, unfocused, know-it-all, annoying, rambling, strange. I am aware that I'm strange, I know what my malfunctions are, but there’s only so much I can do. My options remain between being ignored, left out of the group for being insular, or being shunned and derided for being aggravating. It's not like I particularly need a group though, well, for exploring I do, but that's really a matter of safety, and it's really the only reason I've been integrated so heavily into this group. I'm strange, and I'm annoying, and I'm cold, but I'm useful. Always useful, the one constant I’ve yet to see violated. I suppose that's all that matters, in the end. As long as I'm still useful, everyone might scorn me, and argue with me, but they won’t get rid of me, until I decide to leave myself. And that's enough, I suppose; I don't need them for much of anything else. Mother always says that I do, that everyone does, need people for emotional things, love and comfort and happiness. I don't think I've ever needed anyone else for happiness, but maybe that means I've never been happy? If one has never been happy, how can they tell? I suppose it would be easy to see in hindsight I guess, but then they would have to feel happy at least once; what if they never did? Someone who was never happy in all of their life, could they regret that? How could they know if they weren't happy, if they never had anything to compare to? Can that be said about every emotion? Can some people never be happy, or sad, or angry, and never notice? I don’t think I could find someone who’s never felt and never known about emotion; it's spoken about too frequently, unless maybe I found someone who was totally separate from society? That seems unlikely. I wonder if there are emotions that I've never felt, but I assume that I have? Anger, I've definitely felt, I don't think I couldn't have based on how it's generally described. Maybe I've never felt happiness, but how could I compare what I've felt to what is generally described as happiness? A mind-affecting spell, I suppose, but one that didn't hamper my thoughts or actions. But if it turns out that I never have been happy, and the spell lets me feel happy, I would assume that the rest of my life would suffer irrevocable detriment because that would infer that I could only feel happiness using mind-alteration, or would require a stimulus so rare that I have yet to encounter it in nearly 21 years of life, and since people rave about how satisfactory a feeling it is, the lack of feeling after a short, single experience would likely taint all experiences afterwards. If that's the case, then I'm probably happier overall not being happy, which is interesting in itself; happiness not as a concrete emotion, but rather an average of feelings over time, and I suppose I'm relatively even overall, which could likely put me ahead of people who do suffer strongly from loss or disappointment. It's sort of funny, to consider that I, so often informed of my unhappy demeanour, could actually be happier than other people. I suppose that's a benefit of being strange.