While standing in line at the catered lunch at work yesterday, I had some thoughts. These thoughts struck me after observing something odd. Grown engineers, men in their thirties and forties, were hammng up the lu’au theme of the meal, cavorting around shirtless in grass skirts and coconut bras (in this heat, who can blame them?). What struck me about the incident was how their audience, those of us standing in line for barbeque, applauded and cheered such immature behavior. Excuse me, but since when is immature and childish behovior encouraged? Why has our contemporary society placed such a high value on being ‘one crazy dude (or dudette)"?
As long as I can remember, I’ve always tried to be treated seriously. Since I am small, I appear younger than I actually am by about two or three years. This is what people see me as, and treat me accordlingly. Furthermore, I am of an advanced mental state; I am mentally more advanced than people my age. So as I was growing up, I was a ten-year-old that felt 12 and was treated like I was 8. This persisted long into my high school years. Consequently, I have resented this treatment, and have developed a desire to be taken seriously, to be treated as the mature person I am. It’s gotten better in recent years, but every now and then I still encounter a clerk who thinks I’m still in high school.
So I’ve learned to bear myself with modesty, dignity, and moderated calm. Yet, my peers in the office are still overgrown college kids. It distresses me even more when people older than I act so immature too. Grow up people! Act your age!
I’m afraid social norms are working against me. I must admit that the reality of modern America is one that places a high social value on ‘fun’, on being a free-spirited and uninhibited individual. There is so much immatureity inherently found in the pursuit of hedonistic and narcissistic fun, that it is better to be the life of the party than the quiet host of it. It is cool to get a few drinks in your system, speak loudly and boisterously of every whim that graces your mind, and generally act like an oaf. It is cool to make a complete humiliation of yourself just to get others to laugh. People do this with or without the presence of alcohol, though it helps.
And yet, it is the quiet wallflowers, the ones who stand at the fringes observing this insanity, this bawdy cacophony and wishing to be no part in it, who are considered defective. They are too shy, the masses decry! They have mental disorders and must be medicated! Look around, and look at yourselves, and you will see who truly needs medication.
I realize now that such behavior isn’t as common here in the real world as it was in college. But still people are immature. Those that never put anybody else above themselves. Those who can’t see the greater good because they are too focused on maximizing their own personal gains. Those who do not understand that law and order exist for very good reasons, and dodge those limits when they become inconvenient. People drive lazy, shop lazy, spend lazy, and live lazy. ( I better stop now, before I use my neo-beatnik principles to condemn this world as too consumer comsumption driven; that is a different rant for a different day.)
* Why do people take the elevator to ascend one or two floors?
* Why are some buildings designed only with elevators in mind, relegating the stairwells into cinder block obscurity?
* Why do people take entire fistfuls of napkins at restaurants, and use three of them?
* Why do people always come to rolling stops at street intersections, instead of actually stopping?
* Why do people block entire lanes of parking lots to load and unload, instead of parking and loading/unloading from there?
* Why do people always park as close to the door as possible, despite the fact that it’s just another 200 feet?
* Why do people drive 2 minutes to save 30 seconds of walking?
* Why do people go to national chains instead of local places (assuming there still are local places)?
* Why aren’t city streets more tolerant and accomodating of bicycles? Or is bicycling for travel instead of recreation that much of a stigma now?
* Why must motorcycles be so loud?
* Why, in this day of expensive gasoline and shrinking parking spaces, are trucks and SUVs outselling sedans?
* Whatever happened to non-vocal non-piano jazz, and rock instrumentals?
* Why is hip-hop considered an art form?
* Why does $300 clothing and $20 clothing still look the same?
* Why do middle class suburbanites still dress in sportswear and look like they came from the ghetto?
* Why on earth do people still smoke tobacco?
* Why does it horrify people that I do not carry a cell phone?
* Why is it okay for religious people to share their religious views with me, but not vice versa?
* Whatever happened to listening?
* Why are so many things disposable now?