Nov 27, 2017

IT is not spelled with an E

I think people have this idea, or maybe fantasy, of going through life and finding someone (they are not related to) who understands them, who values them for being who they are. I know this is something that many people, especially as teenagers, crave and yearn for, because, to a degree, everyone feels a little misunderstood. A little separate and lonely.  I never felt misunderstood as a teenager, but then again I never felt the need to be understood by anyone other than myself.
At work, in a call center, I sit across from this guy, Alex. When I look up over the partition and happen to catch his eye, I wiggle my eyebrows madly. I can move my eyebrows independently, which I guess not many people can do, and I like to pretend I’m Jack Black from School of Rock in that scene where he does The Wave with his eyebrows while peeking into a classroom full of children.
Alex responds really well to this and wiggles his eyebrows back (though not independently), but Alex has been promoted recently and soon will no longer be sitting across from me. We were joking about who I was going to wiggle my eyebrows at in the future, and how they would respond to such an overtly maniacal expression, which I didn’t quite realize it was.  I made some joke about sending out signals with my eyebrows over the partitions to the eighty-or-so-odd people in my direct line of sight when Alex is not in front of me, fishing for a response like those people who send out radio waves into space, waiting for extraterrestrial life to respond.
Now, for the last month my whole team has been talking about this new movie, IT.  Or rather, we instant message each other and every time we have to use the word it, we capitalize IT.  And we've been talking about and mentioning IT quite a lot actually, in the team chat especially we're like, “Oh you know how IT is, heh heh heh,” and other people have been like “Oh, IT? Oh I know IT,” “You know IT?” “Oh, you know I know IT,” and we've been like, “Everyone knows IT, lol” with silent, knowledgeable faces over the partitions. Because, remember – we work in a call center, all conversation takes place in these online chats.
I will repeat this again, because I know it’s confusing.
Almost everything we communicate to each other is in writing, already.
When I made that joke about my eyebrows and extraterrestrial life, I finished it with “waiting for IT to respond!” Which the people on my team thought was funny and physically laughed out loud about, not just LOL’d in the chat. To my confusion.
But it was at that moment, when I suddenly realized that “IT” was not “E.T. phone home.” And then I said something like “Oh wait, IT is not spelled with an E.” And it came out, much to the ensuing hilarity of my teammates, that this entire time I was sitting next to them, every time one of them mentioned IT, and I read the letters “I” and “T,” I wasn’t thinking of It, which is apparently about some psychotic killer clown, I was thinking of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial.  
I had gone through the last month believing that IT stood for Extra Terrestrial. As the seven other people on my team took a moment to ROFL and laugh their collective ass off, I took a moment to reflect that originally they thought I had been trying to call some killer clown to me with my Jack-Black-eyebrow choreography, instead of a friendly extraterrestrial who somehow understood dyslexic eyebrow Morse Code.
Coincidentally, both movies came out around the same time in my life.
Before I was born.
I know that’s no excuse for continually reading IT as ET.  I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that IT was not spelled with an E. I had only noticed this whole discrepancy to begin with when I wrote “Extra Terrestrial” and realized the initials didn’t quite match up with IT. An epiphany that sent me spinning into flashbacks of several other pinnacle-type experiences of my childhood.
            These kinds of occurrences really take me back.
When I was growing up my mom would tell other people, “Oh ignore her, she’s on a different planet,” or “Watch out for her, she’s on a completely different planet,” which I tended to think of as either excuses for my having said something when I was supposed to sit there like a potted plant, or a warning to my teachers on field trips.
But, you know, that’s who I am. I forgot for a while, because it seemed like I was functioning well, but I think it was just because most of my interactions are superficial and there was no one who knew me well enough to catch that was on a completely different planet. I wasn’t even in the same solar system.
And I don’t even have a Ham radio! How am I going to find true love if the aliens can’t find me?
I would like to think that I’m just misunderstood. It would be really convenient if that were the case, but I’m not misunderstood. I am the one misunderstanding.