This week’s Prompt For The Promptless is about honne:
Honne is a Japanese noun referring to the behavior and opinions someone truly believes in–often displayed with one’s closest confidants. Honne may be contrary to what is expected by society or what is required according to one’s position and circumstances, and they are often kept hidden, except with one’s closest friends.
Hoo boy, do I have a lot of honne. I am a completely different person, depending on my surroundings. At work, I am a mostly serious fish, friendly and polite, but I don’t divulge a lot. None of my coworkers know even half as much about me as you guys do. At the dog park, I am mostly the same as at work, but not nearly as serious.
Around my closest friends and family, I am a babbling idiot.
Sometimes this idiocy leeches out into the real world, especially if there is fluorescent lighting (As an aside, I am very pleased that I finally managed to learn how to spell fluorescent correctly). Fluorescent lighting is my arch nemesis.
When I was an infant, I had meningitis, which left me incredibly sensitive to light like a vampire. Fluorescent light gave me migraines. If you have been out in the world at all, you’ll know that most stores, offices and schools have this type of lighting. Nowadays, these bastard compact fluorescents are almost everywhere. In school, I had to make special arrangements to not sit directly under a light fixture, but I was also hard of hearing and left-handed, so finding a place to sit where I could hear, write and not have my head explode was a challenge. I’m sure my special needs exasperated my teachers.
As I got older, I outgrew the migraines (mostly anyway–I did just have one not two weeks ago), but fluorescent lighting still presents its own special brand of impairment: it turns me into an idiot. Most of the time, my shyness reins in fluoreptitude (a portmanteau of fluorescent and ineptitude). Most of the time, my idiocy is a compact star, running out of material for thermonuclear fusion and dimly burning in the vastness of space under control of shyness. Then, along come fluorescent lights. They raise my core idiocy temperature, and trigger runaway slaphappy fusion, completely disrupting the shyness. I release potential energy in the form of babbling lunacy. Enough fluoreptitude can create a supernova nonsense explosion.
I do so love cosmological metaphors.
Anyway, the point is, most of the time, my shyness keeps my idiocy in check unless there are fluorescent lights. I have walked around a pharmacy with one of these hanging from my neck and several hanging on my arms:
I call them shopping monkeys. They are designed solely to help me shop, but they can never leave the store, because it is their home and they couldn’t help people shop if they weren’t in it. Duh.
Besides shopping monkeys, I also enjoy balancing a wide array of objects on my head. This is what I look like in a bookstore:
I am a terrible singer. I know this because I have perfect pitch and I can’t stand to hear myself sing. The only way to avoid this is to intentionally sing badly. It’s confusing since badly is really the only way I can sing, but if I intentionally sing terribly, somehow that’s better than meaning to sing well and hearing a hippo scream instead.
So, depending on the strength of the fluorescents, with my shopping monkey around my neck and a can of tuna balancing on my head, I might let loose with an intentional hippo scream. It makes shopping interesting for those around me. When I say interesting, I mean embarrassing. The first time I went shopping with Male, he thought I was absolutely insane, which I was, but it was only temporary insanity. After a while, he got used to it. He’d put the stuffed animals and random watermelons that I stowed in the cart back on the shelf and continue shopping. Only sometimes did he pretend that he didn’t know me. The rest of the time, he’d laugh at me. That’s true love, kids.
So, yes, I’m very familiar with the Japanese concept of the contrast between showing one’s true nature only to closest friends, and the behavior and opinions one displays in public. I would rather not hippo scream with a shopping monkey, but I can’t really help it. Please, for the love of fuck, can’t we start using LEDs instead of fluorescent lights? I would prefer to keep my honne at home where it belongs.