I, robot

A common thing that is said to me, and I’ve never exactly been sure why:

“It’s nice to see you are human.”

Was I previously possibly a singularity, walking amongst you? Is this because I do not cry in front of you unless you are Pea or possibly my sisters? Is this because small negative things really don’t ruffle me all that much, and I find it tiresome to continually complain? That I have no time for drama?

This time, it was said by my conference co-chair, after a late Friday afternoon meeting in which we were both clearly running on one cylinder. Possibly one total between us. Lots of staring blankly at lists. We did rally and make progress, but at the end I admitted “I can’t put three twelve-hour days in a row anymore, I need to build more time in.” To which he said “No, of course, but it is nice to see you are human.”

I find it alienating. It has usually been said by a colleague, and one that I would consider a friend or on the way to being a friend. Admission that they were doubting my humanity, or feeling shut out from my reality makes that friendship stutter a bit for me, because this IS my reality. I work hard, I generally don’t complain, I never cry in public, and what I think usually comes out my face, largely unfiltered – I don’t consider myself a disingenuous person.  I’m not wearing a game face, or a silicon mask over my compressors, this is me.


4 thoughts on “I, robot

  1. rainbowgoblin

    I don’t think you come off as cold and robotic at all. I get that comments like that are terrible, and I’m not sure how they’re intended, but as an outside observer I would guess it’s meant as a comment about your drive? I don’t know: when I think about people often referred to as “a machine” they’re people who are impressively driven and efficient. But I can’t imagine anyone commenting on their humanity. I wonder if there’s an element of sexism to that: men are paper-writing machines, women are robots. Which sucks.

    Interestingly, I’ve always thought of your drive as a very conspicuously human trait.

    1. labmonkeyftw Post author

      I like machine over robot, but both are still a bit weird. It’s not a compliment to have your admission of generic weakness praised as humanizing, but it is usually offered as a compliment. I’m just always caught off guard, and more each time.
      People are weird. Myself included, I suppose. 🙂


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