• S.E. Burr

I'm a Robot from a Parallel Dimension: Difficulties in Understanding and Communication

Lately I've been hearing phrases like the following:

"I can't relate."

"It makes no more sense to me now than it did then."

"I don't see the point."

If it was one person who said these things to me or if it was different people but we were discussing the same topic, then I wouldn't feel as odd as I do, but, as it happens, those quotes are from three different people discussing three different things with me, and I feel very odd.

The phrase, "No one understands me," is a ridiculous and annoying teenage cliché. The standard response, though hopefully stated with more tact, is "Everyone understands you. You're going through a normal developmental phase where you feel like a martyr and act like a brat." How is it that after all these years, I can feel more misunderstood, more unique, and more alone than ever? Am I stuck in some sort of perpetual adolescence? (Oh dear, I hope not. Adolescence was awful.)


I feel like I live in a parallel dimension from everyone else. It's mostly the same, but ever so slightly different, and every word I say has a slightly different meaning in my world, where I say it, than it does in your world, where you hear it. Or maybe I'm a robot and so is everyone else, but my source code, the commands at the core of me that determine what I must do, and think, and be, are ever so slightly different for me than for everyone else.

I realize that it sounds like I'm talking about normal human variation and the way that every person tends to be a little different but mostly the same as every other.


I see other peoples' relationships with their friends and their family members. Sometimes people have relationships where, although they disagree in small matters, in all the big ones, they're in complete agreement. I never feel that way with anyone. It seems like people always like a lot of things about me and then there's one major aspect of my personality that they think is insane. (I suppose the opposite is true, as well. There's one major aspect of their personality that I think is insane, but I realize that if I think everyone around me is crazy, it says a lot more about me than it does about them.) It would make sense if people were always disagreeing with me about the same thing. The answer would be simple-- a delusion. But it's never the same thing. What one person likes about me another thinks is mad. I get the impression that aspects of my personality contradict each other, or at least form an unusual combination. Maybe I just relate too much to the 1997 Meredith Brooks hit, "Bitch." I had never heard of Meredith until I googled the song, which I mistakenly thought had been written by Alanis Morissette, but now I'm convinced that she's the only person who will ever understand me.

I write because I want to communicate. I want to write stories that cause people to see the world differently, but lately I despair at my ability to communicate anything at all, either in my writing or in my life. It's so difficult to get people to see things my way. I'm not sure that the English I'm writing is the same English you're reading. Something's lost in translation and I don't know how to find it. But what can I, an oddly programmed robot in a parallel dimension, do besides keep trying to reach out, keep trying communicate, even though I've got a 1 where you've got a 0 or vice versa?

Here are some links to other posts you might like:

Harnessing Despair and Turning It Into Creation

Best Heard in Silence: Spoken Voice Versus Written Voice

I Give Up: Why Being Stubborn is Good but I've Decided to Quit Anyway

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