Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Intersections of Life

Well, its time for theory of life stuff again.  I'm not sure why I don't give this stuff up.

It's hard to represent yourself as a person, especially a person with a sense of humor while writing a blog post.  Just take my word for it, I am a person.  I do have a sense of humor.

I dont spend hours planning out these little diatribes.  I pretty much just think it up and write it down, and I'm sure it shows.  I may check spelling & grammar (believe it or not), look up the meaning of a word I'm not sure about, may make some other changes after I'm done, but normally I just sit down and write this stuff with very little thought to it, and I rarely go back to it at a later date.   In, out, done, mostly forgotten.  That's my writing motto.  I didnt know it was 'till just now, but it seems to be.

Theory of life.  Not orgins.  Theory.  Maybe theory of living.

I don't really observe people that closely anymore.  I used to.  Used to, I considered myself very good at discerning all kinds of defense mechanisms, mannerisms and affectations people put forth in order to deal with life.  I felt that if I concentrated hard enough, I could look right through a person.  Not in the sense that they weren't there, but in the sense that I could see at least a part of what it was that really made them tick.  A defense mechanism recognised, is not nearly as effective.  Just a slice of a soul, perhaps.  Maybe that was just part of the long term side effects of a rather high daily dosage of Wellbutrin speaking, maybe not.  I was in a different environment than I am now.  Now, I spent a lot of time porch sitting, walking the dog and listening to the birds.  Then I spent a lot of time under a lot of pressure, with a lot of people I didn't really like all that much.  Whatever the reason, I dont spend a lot of time observing people anymore.

Ok, now we've got that background out of the way.  Theory of life. Or living.

There is very private life, private life and public life.  VPL is what's in your head.  If you decide not to share it (such as in a blog post) no one else knows.  It's all yours.   Private life is in the home.  Your family, pets, things you like to do in your free time.  Public life is everything else.  Work, porch sitting, mowing the grass, or the most iconic of all, shopping for groceries.

Food Lion (the most feared place in Valdese, for me, anyway) is a good laboratory to observe the theory of living.  Everybody in there is engaged in public life, either working, or shopping for groceries.  There is a structured randomness about the place.  It has aisles. Check out counters.   When you go in, your natural tendency is to go to the right, and that is no accident - it's the way it is set up.   And there are people there, milling about, looking at things, making decisions, most buying what they always buy because it's comfortable.  Lives intersect there.  Most of the time you don't know the people there, but it's a small town so you're bound to run into someone you know every now and again.  The people who work there begin to look familiar, and you begin to look familiar to them after awhile.  Go there long enough, and they can predict what you'll purchase, if they had the time and cared.

Now, I'm not convinced I really know anything.  In fact I think there is a very good chance I know nothing at all.  The observer alters whatever is being observed.  If I stand in an aisle in Food Lion and stare at some little old lady trying to ascertain her defense mechanisms, chances are she'll stop doing whatever it is she's doing, and go somewhere else.  Or if she's an agressive little old lady, she might thow a loaf a bread at me.

And I'm not sure it matters anyway.  Peoples actions are misinterpreted all the time.  I still remember as a teenager a person telling me they thought I was "stuck up", because I wouldn't talk to them.  In reality, I was scare to death - I was extremely shy.  So whatever mannerisms were shooting out of me were completely misunderstood, and for the longest time I didn't have a clue.

But lives intersect.  People go to Food Lion, like snakes to a snake pit, get their food and leave.  It's like the building inhales and exhales people.  And while inside, these people interact with other people.  Personal histories collide.  Most people follow a set of socially acceptable guidelines, and they get though the ordeal of buying their food.  The intersection of their lives with others flows smoothly, not missing a beat.

2 comments:

Heather said...

I thought I was a people watcher, but you totally got me beat. I guess I don't watch that closely or think on them that deeply.

A Valdese Blogger said...

Ya gotta watch closely in case one of 'em jumps out at you.