Some questions feel taboo. Some questions feel inappropriate. I find myself wanting to know the answers to personal questions that are inappropriate/awkward to ask. For all of the moaning I do about communicating openly and honestly, I sure have hangups.
Here are a few of the things I wish I knew the answers to, but which I am too reticent to ask. The pattern that these all concern me and my status with others is no accident. Partly this is because I am self-obsessed, and partly this is because asking status-related questions appears to be part of the taboo.
- How many people notice that I am a cheapskate? A glutton? To what extent does this hurt my reputation?
- In what ways am I difficult to tolerate? (I think I know part of the answer to this).
- Do others find my attempts to be funny helpful? Irritating? Would they prefer that I stop?
- To what extent am I sensorially offensive to others? Do I smell? What smells? Is my “homeless chic” style offputting?
- Some people I would have expected to read/comment on my two blogs do not appear to do so. Are they unaware of these blogs? Are they aware but bored? Do they actively wish to avoid reading what I write?
- To what extent is my sexuality obvious to others, even if I have not discussed the topic with them?
- To what extent do I have the gay accent? (Or, to put it more crudely, to what extent is my voice faggy?)
- Who dislikes me? Why? What would I have to do to make amends?
- Who thinks I dislike them? Why?
- Who thinks I like them? Why?
- What set of people would consider me a friend?
- Why do others agree to socialize with me?
- Have I been any person’s object of sexual interest in the last decade?
- What did I actually do wrong in that job interview? What is the real reason you don’t want me for the job?
- Can I be forgiven for the many bad things I do/have done? What would that look like? (Who would be doing the forgiving?)
- Has anybody benefited from my existence in this world? Has there been net benefit? What about when you take opportunity cost into account? What marginal effect would there be (positive or negative) if I was to remain alive another year? Another five years? Another ten years?
- How much do others judge me for being unemployed?
- For how long after my death will I be remembered? What will I be remembered for, if anything?
Although I am putting these questions on the internet, I am not expecting answers. They are awkward to answer, and I doubt I want the emotional fallout of hearing the truth. This may go some distance towards explaining the taboo.
It is somewhat surprising that most of these questions could in principle be answered. (The future-oriented ones are different, of course.)
But even if I am not looking for answers to these questions I think it is interesting to note the phenomenon. Who knows? Maybe this will become semi-regular feature.