There’s a Cats Laughing song called “Signal to Noise.” I think Emma Bull wrote the lyrics; anyone who knows for sure is free to confirm or correct me. But there are times that those lyrics bounce right back into my head. Here’s the first verse:
Drinking coffee, have to stay awake and think of you
Aching awfully, knowing my perceptions aren’t true
If you were what I’ve made you, not as your acts betrayed you
How could I keep away?
But things still lead me on, a word and then it’s gone
What lives here and what’s stray?
Tell me please, what’s signal and what’s noise?
And that is exactly where my head is tonight. Yet again, I’ve discovered that someone is not who I thought they were, and it wasn’t in the pleasant sense of, “You mean you really are Superman?” It was more like, “You really don’t have any respect for me, do you?” It’s the realization that I made up a persona and hung that persona like clothes over a skeleton of reality. I really liked person I made up. But that person doesn’t really exist.
So. Sad and feeling rather stupid. Suckered again. Oh, dear. Not a major relationship in my life, so there is that to be grateful for. Still, it’s a disappointment.
I tend to take people at face value. I believe what they tell me about themselves. After that, it can take months or even years before it dawns on me that things just aren’t adding up. None of this makes sense . . . oh. Unless you were not being truthful about statements A, B, and D. Then it does work.
So, while this is not a life changing event for me, it is one that makes me once more evaluate my ability to judge character. And to downgrade it even more than I had before.
Am I going to change? Become more cynical? Dissect people? Be wary on first meetings and cautious about who I befriend or let into my home?
Nope. I intend to go on believing the best of people until they prove I’m wrong. I’ve found it’s a lot less work. And I don’t enjoy being cynical or suspicious. I don’t like me when I’m that person. I’d rather be too gullible a thousand times than cynical and hard when it wasn’t called for.
I don’t even get confrontational when I find out I’ve been played. I simply tend to withdraw. I re-sketch the person in my mind, getting much closer to reality and then I reorder the relationship. I don’t think I’ve ever really tossed anyone out of my life; instead, I tend to reset the orbit to a more appropriate level, and carry on as before. There is almost always something to like about any person; might as well hang on to the good stuff and let the rest slide away.
And there is, as they lyrics suggest, an element of personal responsibility in these things. Often I am the one who has slipped the person into the mold and then assumed it fit. Only to discover later that it did not.
“If you were as I made you, not as your acts betrayed you . . .”
Maybe that’s why I enjoy character creation so much. Writing friends who I know from the heart out, people who are indeed exactly as I made them up . . .