18 October 2011

the lens

Let’s be real. I’m not above being a little bit petty sometimes. I still find myself feeling resentment for no justifiable reason and doing stupid passive aggressive things about which I am not proud at a later time.

That’s not to say that I’m a terrible person. I swear I can be nice sometimes. Sweet, even. But these instances are not relevant to this post, so I’m going to move along.

Wait. Actually they might be. There are instances when the degree to which I need to make other people happy surprises me. I think that because I don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to friendship, when I identify someone with potential, I jump on the opportunity.

For example, I align myself with the other person, consciously or unconsciously, in terms of cultural consumption or opinion, in the hopes of receiving some sort of validation. Sometimes that alignment manifests itself in the form of picking up certain mannerisms, which is just as creepy and unsettling for me as I imagine it would be for the other person. But, because I like the other person, I’m okay with assimilating.

Conversely, when I decide I dislike someone, I find myself resorting to childishness as an active attempt to further my dislike. If someone that falls into this category were to say something that I legitimately found funny, I would do my best not to laugh because I wouldn’t want to give that person the satisfaction.

Yes, I realize that this behavior is irrational and immature. But try and tell me that you have never done the same thing.

Thinking about my perception of certain people and how that established image affects the way in which I interpret their actions made me think of a little game I have played walking around in Stockholm. The rules are simple: identify a person whose actions are inherently inoffensive, then imagine that that person is a rapist/murderer.

With this simple change, those seemingly innocent actions have a projected motivation, and are therefore tainted. That man walking down the street listening to his iPod? That old lady sitting on a bench? The dude browsing an aisle in the grocery store? All of them are demented, and everything they do reflect their deranged way of thinking. I mean, I understand that those observations are not necessarily true (though they might be). But it’s fascinating to see how someone can change so drastically without any action on their part.

Playing this game has made me wonder what sort of impression I give to strangers. How much do I give away with the way I walk or talk? Through what sort of lens am I viewed? Do other people think about things like this with as much frequency?

My guess is probably not. 

Also, I don’t mean anything by “give away.” There isn’t anything wrong with me that I need to hide. I promise.


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