A Definitive Answer to a Stupid Question: What’s Wrong With You?

Sometimes, though I try like the dickens to avoid it, I make friends—or, rather, friendship is hurled upon me and I accept it because it’s nice, and maybe I am not wholly unkind. However, I have noticed that in almost every friendship I’ve had, there comes the same question: “what’s wrong with you?” And granted, it’s a good question. A really good question. I am a curmudgeonly homebody with a masterful scowl which I use liberally. It’s a good question, and my answer is usually something like “I have a list.” I’ve never shown anyone that list because I kept it hidden deep in my cerebral nougat-y center. But now I want everyone to know exactly what is wrong with me. I’m tired of the question, and I want to be able to direct the next person who asks it to this post–probably while shoving my middle finger in their face.

I am too good at Scrabble
Picture it: it’s game night—not the sports kind—at the perimeter of a worn board perch hawk-like two people—not the athletic kind—surveying their verbose field of battle. One of them is me, the other doesn’t matter. They never matter because I play to win, motherfucker, and I will burn the lexical fields you sow and salt the land on which you had the gall to tread. I am a merciless Scrabbler. I start with spiteful 2 letter plays: he, we, an, of. Then, when I see sweat, I pounce with elephant and jazz and kazoo. I play to eviscerate my enemies with the blunt pages of my cognitive dictionary. And when the words have tripled, when the combination plays have devastated my opponent’s spirit, I feel… nothing. I have the empathetic range of a house cat and just as much capacity for remorse. And it’s not just in family friendly word games that I stomp about in my cruel shoes; it’s everything.

Above: most of my social circle.

I like my cat
Over the years I’ve noticed something whenever I’m being social: often, at the most inopportune moment in a conversation, my brain will quietly mumble to itself “I don’t really like this.” I don’t like talking to people, or being around many of them, or meeting new ones, or meeting up with old ones. There are, of course, exceptions, but they are unicorns: rare and with pleasantly pointy heads. But then there’s my cat. I like my cat. She does none of the unpleasant things people do: she’s not much of a talker, and she doesn’t mind when I go a few days without saying a word, and if I want to get away from her, I can just leave without having to deal with the social repercussions later. Also, most importantly, I don’t have to lie to my cat to make her feel good and make hanging around her more palatable. So I’d rather sit at home with my cat than go out because talking is work, and lying is work, and, as far as I’ve seen, few unicorns roam the streets of the Southwest United States.

I like my job
I teach an intro-level English composition class, and I tutor a few hours a week, and if I need a few extra dollars a month, I edit technical manuals online for about a nickel an error. I like my jobs, and I want to do them until I’m all done being alive, and that means sometimes I say no to doing things with people because I’d rather do my work. Usually, if I tell someone “I have work to do” I am lying; the reality is that “I have work I want to do.” I prefer thinking of fun or weird ways to help my students to dancing in a bar (side note: I actually prefer everything to dancing) or I want to read a cool book about writing instead of going to movies. The exception to all this is homework; fuck that shit, take me to dancing movies instead.

I have no intention of changing
So, what’s wrong with me: a lot, but what kind of self-centered sphincter-biscuit even asks that question anyway? I am a bitter, unempathetic, extremely introverted, cat lady, and changing would be impossible, or at the very least it would be exhausting.


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