My life no longer feels lubricated. With a massive effort, I have managed effective detoxification. It's like childhood is back now, and things that happen in my interactions with people actually mean something.
When I was a kid the stakes seemed quite high. It didn't require much for you to annoy people out of liking you. The rejections seemed so arbitrary I couldn't figure out what set apart those that happened from those that didn't. Wherever there was tension, I would assume there could be a split, and would proceed only as far as my self-confidence and principles would justify it.
Here in grown-up world, at least theoretically the stakes are much higher. If I'm not careful, I might just find myself forced to drink hemlock for corrupting the youth. Self-confidence varies almost daily, ideology is confused and self-contradictory, and rejections seem as random as ever, possibly even more so, as people these days actually have brains that they could technically use to settle what's acceptable and what's pariah-material. Operating without lubrication and feeling like a human being, I find myself having trouble pinpointing exactly when friction becomes explosion.
Very possibly, you can't preclude explosion, and it's a serious risk you must be willing to regularly take, like getting into a car. Still, you should have an idea of where the car is supposed to be, so you don't drive on the wrong side of the road, or through a park, even if you're in a justified hurry.
It's a bad example because unlike cars, being eccentric is not something that is likely to kill anyone, or even harm them. But it can place you sufficiently out of people's comfort zones for them to not hazard treating you like a person. On the other hand it's an appropriate example because it's not limited to my wanting to do things differently; I also think that I'm doing things right and everybody else (well, most of them) are doing it wrong - which is a problem, because it's a little like the equivalent of being the only guy driving on the right side of the road.
Car crashes, explosions, executions - I'm sure there's a saner way of expressing disagreement. I see it all the time. People roll their eyes at each other, shout at each other, fucking denounce each other sometimes, and then go on being friends, which is a phenomenon I kind of remember from childhood, but it's been so long that it's getting a little fuzzy. What sets these clashes apart from those understood as demonstrating ultimate incompatibility? And how much compatibility is absolutely necessary? How much advisable?
I suspect that if I do what people sometimes tell me, and ignore arbitrary conventions and expectations completely, I'll get fired, and alienate and embarrass my friends to the point of insulting them. There's a certain degree of respecting people's arbitrary expectations in wanting to be their friend. It doesn't seem inherently unreasonable, but the question is where should I not have this flexibility, and where exactly are these red lines, in terms of other people. The main question is, I suppose, where is it almost definitely not an issue, and it's just me seeing explosions in regular life-sustaining friction?