04 July 2010

Social Blockade

The other day, I was in the supermarket. And boy I was glad that I had my earphones on listening to music while grocery shopping.

The thing is, I saw someone from my past. You know, sometimes, there are people out there that you just want to forget, people who you might have dealt with in the past but then right now you realize that they belong to a previous chapter in your life and that they have no role in the current chapter you are in. People like that.

So I bumped into one such person the other day. Or should I say, almost bumped into. I was exiting an aisle in the supermarket, and I turned to look at the left, and I saw one such person. I immediately turned my head to the right, and immediately entered another aisle. All along this time I had my earphones on playing somewhere between Three Days Grace and Chevelle.

I pretended to scan the aisles, making sure that I look left and right, so that whoever was behind me could see that I had earphones on and that it would be perfectly natural not to respond to someone calling my name from behind, as I would not be able to hear it. Still, I got the feeling that I heard my name being called several times, although honestly, I may have imagined that. However, it is true that one such person existed, while I was grocery shopping.

I went to the other end of the aisle, and got some other stuff that I needed. Then, I decided to go back to the other end, where I came from, since I am done with my grocery shopping and needed to check out.

Once again, I saw this person. She also saw me, and we had eye contact. However, I acted as if we didn't know each other. And she pretty much acted the same. After all, I expected her to do that, she's instructed to do so.

See, two years ago, I made a major decision in life, and that decision had certain ramifications. One such ramification is that a certain subset of people in this world should act as if they don't know me anymore. You know, with the flip of a switch, they should change. Just like that. That's at least the instructions that they got. And I am fine with that. In fact, I am rather uncomfortable when the people who belong to this subset do not act according to their instructions, and they violate these. Because I have my own set of actions that I decided would be beneficial to me and them based on what I assume to be their behavior.

The thing is, it has something to do with saving and losing face. Because of my decision, this subset of people are instructed not to talk to me anymore, they are instructed to shun me. They are instructed to treat me as if I am a stranger. And sure, for all intents and purposes, they are strangers to me as well. I am fine with that. I can go on with my business, and they can go on with theirs. However, if they decide to violate these assumptions and start talking to me in public, they are violating the assumptions, and I have to either a) talk to them, which, to me, is hard, because really, I have nothing in common with them, or b) be rude to them and tell them that I don't want to have a conversation with them.

In all honesty, I don't hate them per se. I don't hate these people. For all intents and purposes, they are nice. But it's the collective that I hate. I hate the groupthink that goes with it. I made some friends with some of these people in the past, and yes, I am sad that I had to part ways with them, but all this was calculated. I knew that if I didn't expand my social sphere somewhere else, by the time I make my decision public and these people cut me off due to some bizarre groupthink, my social system would collapse. Which is why early on, I made an effort to make new connections with new people, real people, people who would take me as I am, and not because I simply profess to believe in some credo without actually taking the time and effort to know my personality.

So yeah, my decision two years ago had some casualties, and some of these include treating a subset of the human population as total strangers, but I am fine with that. And with that, having earphones in both ears definitely comes in handy. Because one doesn't have to lose face and explicitly ignore the existence of another person by just deliberately not hearing the sounds of the other person.

Funny, because when I got home, I really tried to remember who that person was, and I couldn't even recall her full name.



(Circles with the Flying Steps, from my Moray Series)

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