Ye Interesting Person finally turned back up at the dance studio. Kasasaki-kun has rapidly become my favorite magpie -- if you saw him in person, you would immediately pinpoint at least two of the five or six reasons that comparison springs to mind, and if you managed to get his attention, a five-minute conversation would give you the rest. Having left Moggie back in Arizona, my life is otherwise rather lacking in people who wear weirder jewelry and carry more small shiny objects than I do.

Me, myself and I have an agreement of long-standing, mostly because of all of this, and the prevalence of people like the anonymous commenter. I'm allowed to want whatever I want of other people, as long as I also understand that what I want is well weird, and I'm not going to get it. It doesn't make me want less odd things out of relationships, but at least it means I don't need to feel guilty over not being normal, as long as I can fake it to an extent that lets other people remain comfortable. I cannot annoy others with things that aren't allowed to escape my head.

This agreement also means I spend a lot of time trying to monitor how much I'm allowed to overtly "like" other people. I have an unfortunate tendency to turn into an excited golden retriever when my friends show up; I'm under the impression that this is way more than most people are good with, especially early on. I also investigate people the same way I investigate academic subjects, which results in me sort of incidentally collecting a lot of info that for other people would require stalker-level obsession. Some people take it well when I appear with their normal coffee order without having to be told what it is; some people do not. It takes a lot of time and effort to keep track of what I'm not supposed to know, but I try to, because freaking people out is the last thing I want to do.

I've gotten very good at not letting on that any of this is going on inside my head, because that also freaks people out. I try explaining it from time to time, but that doesn't make it stop, and doesn't really make anyone more inclined to be my friend. In any case, other people don't drive me crazy so much as I drive myself crazy over other people, which makes it my problem and not theirs.

I used to keep half an eye on Kasasaki-kun when he was with his improv group down in the lobby, by the reception desk. I told him ages ago that he reminded me very much of Noel Fielding, and the reason -- other than leopard print and shiny objects -- is that he treats people like affection is not a finite, fungible thing. How he interacts is strictly a function of how much he likes someone and what kind of behavior they're comfortable with. Many of the other group members were much the same. It's a cohort I've always wanted to be part of, like "people with functional families" and "people who can hold down a normal job without crying all the way to work every day", but I lack all of the necessary prereqs to join.

I like being reminded that this sort of thing exists, even if I'm not a part of it, so I watch anyway, just very quietly.

He wandered away to do I don't know what for a good long while, and didn't turn back up again until last month. I've become accustomed to wanting to know other people way more than they want to know me, and my default policy is that it's best if I don't let other people notice this. So I generally tell myself to sit, stay, and simmer down when people I like reappear after a long absence. Normal grown-ups do not tackle-glomp people, is my thinking.

I didn't expect him to be unfriendly, or to not recognize me, but it was momentarily dumbfounding when his first question was "How are you?" instead of "What studio am I in?" I think I answered him, but I have no idea what with. I'm not sure why I didn't expect this -- I think I'm just used to retaining so much more random flotsam than other people that I try to downgrade my estimate of how much they'll remember me over time, so I'm not disappointed when they're back to calling me 'you with the hair'. No point in being knocked off kilter by things they're not doing intentionally.

We ended up closing the building together tonight. I was expecting someone else entirely for the second chair, but nope, first thing I saw coming up the stairs was Kasasaki-kun with a laptop on the desk, his nose deeply into two windows and six tabs of serious attention deficit and a spreadsheet, plus periodic pokes at Google. I hadn't seen him for a couple of weeks, and not for months before that. He started pulling up photos and chattering to me like we'd had a conversation on pause for five minutes while I got up for a drink.

I do fully realize that I did this exact same thing to him months ago, intentionally, trying to clue him into the fact that I was talking to him completely on purpose. I also recall even being surprised at the time that I got a response that night, when normally I have to try it several times to even gauge whether it's welcome or whether I'm just confusing people with it. And still, I am taken aback that it seems to have worked. How did that work? That never works. It worked.

It's such an immutable cosmic rule that I never get what I want that I have to dig up a torque wrench and ratchet around all kinds of things in my head when it happens.

I'm getting so many unbothered, easy-going "okays" off him that they've begun to clog up the processing queue. We basically forgot to go home for an hour after we closed the gates. It took me a bit to realize that we were having the increasingly-personal conversation on a random Cambridge street corner, well after dark, at very close quarters, with a lot of eye contact, and I don't even know which one of us that one was. He confessed to a tendency to mirror body language in pretty much the same tone I use to explain that I absorb accents from other people, so it may have actually been me -- very occasionally I run into people who inspire me to basically want to stand on their feet all the time, and apparently he's one of them.

(Before anyone chimes in to tell me I'm a complete blockhead: Yes, I know he's flirting. So am I. I also know, for a variety of reasons I'm not going to get into here, that he has no particular lines between 'friendly' and 'flirting' unless he's drawing them at the request of someone else, and that mainly what I can derive from all this is that he likes me a lot in no particularly specific fashion. Normally, when someone flirts with me this hard, they're very obviously, shall we say, steering the conversation in a particular direction -- the only thing he seems to definitively want is to investigate the inside of my head the same way I want to puzzle out the inside of his.

Being completely unused to anyone interpreting any of this the way I actually frigging intended it, you will forgive me if I sometime have trouble remembering to shift paradigms until the tachometer redlines.)

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    1. Sadly, he's off on an extended trip now. He does expect to be back anon, and I've been cordially invited to text him whilst he's gone.

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