南京夜生活网： speed of delivery of thirty-three different voices
2020-12-17 baby 南京夜网
Looking back, Joe’s perception of the Last Rock posse in hindsight was somewhat surprising. They were a way overpowered group to use against what amount to a few bandits, they broadly seemed to have bumbled about with a distressing lack of any clue what they were doing—a disappointing thing to have observed after he’d dared to hope a group of proper adventurers would mean an end to Sarasio’s troubles. And, in the end, they hadn’t solved the problem like adventurers, exactly. Rather than rounding up and stomping out the White Riders, they had rallied the town and the elves, done as much to heal what was wrong with Sarasio as defend it.
That had impressed him more than anything else. He still pondered it often.
Now, the Shady Lady was back in business, which was to say raucous, bawdy, and fun. Not that the kind of fun that went on here was Joe’s cup of tea, exactly, but he was attached to the place. Half-dressed women were draped over various pieces of furniture and those of the patrons who looked like they had money to spend. Some of the crowd was clearly rough around the edges, but there were two burly men in suits with wands and cudgels lurking by the door—and now that Joe was here, there was even less danger of anybody mistreating one of the employees. The piano was blasting a spritely melody, which was slightly uncomfortable for Joe because ever since yesterday it was in need of tuning. Not enough that anyone else would notice, yet, which just made it worse.
Joe had to pause just inside, not to add drama to his entrance, but just to orient himself and parse the glut of data that washed over him. Fortunately he had enough practice at this that the room arranged itself in his mind fairly quickly, fast enough most of those present would likely not have noticed more than a momentary hesitation.
The temperature of the room and how it varied by the concentrations of bodies in different spots. Volume, intonation, and speed of delivery of thirty-three different voices. The differing proximities of different bodies to one another, and what it signified about their interactions. The minutiae of fine movements in facial muscles that expressed emotion; the less neatly organized details of body language which he had also studied carefully but did not yet have down to so precise a science. Details, details, details. Data.
In his father’s research and correspondence with professionals up in the dwarven kingdoms, Joe’s pa had found that his condition, the way he processed information differently and seemed to lack the innate grasp of social interaction that humans were supposed to have from birth, was a known phenomenon. The other thing, his gift, the way he perceived everything about the physical world in hard numbers, was something different—possibly related, not completely unheard of but altogether far less common. He’d learned to use the one to compensate for the other, with the result that while learning to read a room had taken him years and the effort had been exhausting, now that the effort was done he could read people—individually and in groups—with a degree of precision that far more sensitive and intuitive types couldn’t seem to manage.