Reality check

February 14, 2008 at 2:00 am (Day to Day)

Does it ever seem that people don’t…exist(?) until you really start knowing them? There are so many people that I come into contact with every day that I treat almost as “objects” that happen to be interacting. I see simple, common patterns that are an axiom of humanity. Everybody notices these patterns. You go into McDonalds, “welcome to McDonalds, how may I help you?” So I treat them like I would a vending machine. They do not exist, they do not have a life; they are only there to fulfill their duties of the job. They are the job to me. It’s not always this heartless, though. I try to flash my goofy looking smile to most people I happen to come across, just in passing, on campus. This is out of cordiality for people I don’t even know exist in essence. I was at the Perfect Blend earlier tonight ordering coffee when it hit me that this girl has a story. It was when I saw her reading a book that I actually realized that she is exactly like me in the sense of her humanity: she has desires, she interacts and communicates with people, she texts, she smiles, she has stories, she reads books, she listens to music. That blew my mind that there are six billion people who, like me, are human. D.J. was with me and knows her well enough to talk to her. I found out she is graduating in December and is even thinking about the Peace Corps. By hearing that little bit, she became human to me; she became more than a vending machine but had a personality and a mind and thoughts and feelings. I immediately started wondering what kinds of books she liked to read, what kind of music she listened to, what her opinions on the presidential race were, if she had been or currently was in love. Granted, I projected more humanity on her than I knew from five minutes, but she still became exactly like me. My interaction with a lot of girls like her is restricted to meaningless flirting. That is predictable behavior from a guy and is not an attribute of humanity. Pretty girls like her have probably heard a lot of the same stuff from guys coming her way. As a donut jokey, I certainly have, not so much as flirtation but a common conversation is, “I know these are bad for me but they are so good!” “Oh no! They’re fat free and sugar free. We make them with Splenda.” And we both laugh, but it isn’t real. They aren’t a person to me, and I am not a person to them; it is a situation of customer/employee. This person might be going through a divorce, but I don’t know. If they told me, they would be human to me, and we would be equals. Everybody has some kind of history! This doesn’t even make me happy, only sad. If I become sad at times, my friends become sad at times, there is an entire world that is sad at times.

This made me start thinking about myself. I wonder if I am a situation, not a person. I know how to make people laugh—this is repetitive behavior; everybody seems to have a formula on how to get them to laugh. I know how to make people think I am deep/funny/insightful/religious/charming/saint/sinner/etc. These are all just situations. I can get girls to like me without knowing hardly a thing about me, without knowing my family’s background, without knowing my ambitions and desires, without knowing I play piano, without knowing  I could develop a formula on how to be generally well-received by peers without having one drop in the bucket of humanity. It’s unfortunate because I am a well of emotion. The only problem is that I have dried up. Maybe it’s because I am so introverted while trying to put up a good front. Everything I am swells up internally, and I have a hard time extroverting anything but a formula for whatever end I am trying to produce. Every end is situation. I don’t want a girlfriend, but I am sometimes a good flirt. I have brief, intense friendships that fizzle out when they should go deeper. Again, I just don’t know how to make who I am on the inside the person seen on the outside. Surely this is a problem a lot of people face. It isn’t as though I am shallow on the outside and care too much about what others think. That has never been the case. While I can pander to other peoples’ expectations, I don’t think I have been seen as the guy who is passive and agreeable.

The end. I am tired.


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