People-Watching

The Question of ‘Hate’

Never mind that I thought it wasn’t cool that some people thought any kind of criticism was ‘hate’. I was so guilty of hating and not because of anything people usually railed against. I knew what it was to hate people you were supposed to love. I knew what it was to look at total strangers in traffic, maybe their bumper sticker said ‘coexist’or ‘bad ass boys drive bad-ass toys’ or they had zebra seat covers or they sang along with Celine Dion with their windows open at stop signs. It was that feeling that hit you that you would not get along with these people,
and you didn’t want to bother trying.

The lady on tv speaking in a high-pitched squeal, trying to sell me little plastic containers so that I could create little organized and labled stacks everywhere: socks, paper clips, hair ribbons, towels according to use and color. The ever-perky ‘volunteer management’ moms at the school for sending happy face icons with every email about whatever thing they wanted me to do. The telemarketers who spoofed their phone numbers so I could not call them back and troll them, though I eventually found a way to kill off 99% of them. Nomorobo. Google it. The guy who made a big display of coughing like he was going to die and bitched that I was not far enough away from the cafe door when I had my one smoke.

The attention whores, male or female, it didn’t matter, on social media who thought they were funny or cute who posted stupid platitude posters between endless photos of themselves either in the bathroom or their faces shoved up next to their friends partying, their faces distorted in an ‘I’m having SOOO much fun, whee look at me!’ fiercely smiling. You think everyone cares, but they probably don’t. Give it a rest.

The screaming kids running unsupervised in whatever stores and their parents who seemed like they not only did not give a crap but seemed to revel in the fact they were annoying the hell out of everyone else. The guy in the cafe, whom when witnessing some angry guy yelling at a woman outside and seeming like he might hit her, said ‘ I’m not going to let it ruin my day’. The old lady in line taking forever to find 16 cents in change and another one filling out every field on her check in slow motion. The chatty cathys talking to the clerk about something inane very loudly and animatedly and the nosy parker clerk for asking us if were were ‘traveling’ even though we came in there every week.

The guy who hung around the local shopping center, always with the compliments and vague Shakespearean garbage ‘and a good day to you M’lady, might perchance you have an extra cigarette?’ I had to learn ways to avoid most all of these people, but just when I thought I had avoided them all, new ones sprang up, a many-headed Hydra of annoyance.

The people tailgating the shit out of me in the slow lane or in a 25mph residential. I flipped my mirror bitchily as if to say ‘Now I can’t see you, so it’s not going to do any good’ and then alternated speeding up on the downhill and creeping on the uphill. It was too much work to flash my brake lights. I don’t see you, you don’t exist you entitled shithead.

Speaking of entitled shitheads, I hated the workers who either pretended they didn’t see me, or said ‘ I’ll be right there when I’m done sweeping’. I hated them even more when they could not seem to complete the tiniest and easiest task, such as putting a straw with a drink or not forgetting something every single fucking time.

The moms at the school who noticed little details, such as one’s shoes or whether one’s bag was genuine from the stitching, or kept track of who volunteered for what and who didn’t- chickens pecking at the ground, seeing only what was directly in front of them- and never any overall situation, always the trees, never the forest.
The moms reminded me of commenters on the internet who would pick apart the most inane of television shows- and when you thought it could not be more of an exercise in pointlessness- the universe of stupidity would groan and expand like a belch from an overweight cal-trans worker or cop at a hof brau, making room for more.

“Did you see what the t-shirt said that the kid was wearing?” “that car seat was facing the wrong way” and then they would congratulate each other on it: ” IKR!? good eye IronicScreenName!” “just wow, DevilDolly, you catch everything!” or the ubiquitous non-statements like “I just…can’t” . I was always afraid one of these would hold me hostage in real life and tell me some long-winded and detail-laden story, of which I would have to follow enough to act as if I were paying attention- knowing there would be no point to it, not even like at the end of a lifetime movie where some banal and sickeningly predictable tale always led to ‘closure’.

There were no end to this clucking. I knew from watching others, I was supposed to be enraptured, that I was supposed to make my own little clucking noises back to them, to show that I understood, I could relate- that there were places in these
birdsongs that I was supposed to react, to make faces-but it almost hurt to try to listen, like fighting a dose of sodium pentothal. It reminded me of the feeling I got when I discovered another one of the things I was never taught by my mother, that I learned for myself as I went along. Like how to make a bed properly or iron something. At least since I started cooking for myself probably under age 10, I had developed a decent sense of what seasonings worked with whatever food.

I hated that maybe these chicken-people could tell that I wasn’t doing the correct thing naturally, that I was doing something else. “Don’t stare at people” one of my parents had said. But I had to stare- like a feral animal, it was my way of better figuring out what they were, if they were threatening or threatened- if they were fun, or sad or if they was anything at all interesting about them, and what that could be. I thought that maybe I hadn’t always been like this, but I no longer could recall what being any other way felt like, nor could I attribute/blame any pharmaceuticals or substances.

Why should I try to keep talking about stupid little things with them when I could get close enough to them to catch their scent, or watch they way they moved or memorize the particular way they walked, whether there were patterns to the way they did things- some would look around when they stopped walking, some would look up or down, some would fidget with their hair or their possessions. The rise and fall of their voice and the pitch. If their walk was smooth or mincing or plodding or bouncy or awkward. There was so much you could tell by just watching. This instinctual way of observation often worked much better and was more accurate than anything people might say. People-watching was very instructive.

I didn’t hate these individuals, I hated all of them who had certain characteristics, like being loud all the time. People who tossed their McGarbage out the window, or left their horrible children’s dirty diapers in parking lots. People who had to blast their music and sit there with their car door or front door open so we could all suffer. And why speak at a normal volume when YOU COULD BE YELLING?

There was the special ones- special because they caused others pain and just didn’t care or actually were amused at hurting them. In this category I wondered if I might have some relatives as well, but I was still willing to give them a partial benefit of the doubt that they were maybe simply neglectful rather than the bad kind of sadistic. They were still somewhat hateable just because they were neglectful and selfish. I looked at these types as sort of unfinished somehow, like they never really evolved out of a miserable stage of toddlerhood, when you realize throwing a fit doesn’t get you that far.

Maybe it wasn’t even true hate in all cases, but it was at best annoyance and at worst vitriolic contempt and disgust. Then eventually even that would dissipate and a sense of just getting to the surface for some air would take over. You couldn’t even throw them a life-jacket- they wouldn’t want it.

Then there was what I call the Internet Netherworld.

Here everyone wanted a label because no one seemed to know where they belonged on their own. There was no inner core to these types, it was all about superficial bullshit all the time even when they pretended it was otherwise. Occasionally someone would make a pronouncement, similar to ‘children should be seen and not heard, only it wouldn’t be children, it would be someone else. Usually there would be a news story to try and back up this premise. It seemed at times this was intentionally done, in order to create a controversy- a desperate bid for attention. A few sycophants who would use their own examples, either from life or yet more news stories. Usually they were boring and sucked. Then someone would post a silly picture, or a horrific one. I have never seen so many grown men caring about what anonymous strangers thought, and getting upset to the point of grade-school ‘call ya down’.

The outer world could fall away in this murky swamp, it was a place where real life wasn’t, and that wasn’t a good thing. It wasn’t like being on vacation, which was still another facet of real life. Here you could give someone crap, or have them compliment you, but there was a firewall of sorts. Even if you portrayed yourself and your life accurately, it was still not like someone really seeing it, or you no matter how much ‘proof’ you could come up with. Those that lacked the inner core would happily just go along with whatever the last person they talked to, or the last opinion they hear. Spending some time to let it rattle around in their heads that hmm, maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way, maybe I’m giving credit to the wrong person, or maybe I’m attackding or looking down my nose at the wrong person. Nope. That would take way too much effort. Isn’t it just easier to go along, to just put up your sail and do what’s easiest?

Legions of these ridiculous screen names would throw some crap out there and then wait-the flies would come, some who portrayed themselves as on the side of whatever the original article or post was about, but it was obvious they were there to troll. It was obvious it was just stirring the pot. Others of course would not get this and take offense, then the first troll would relish in the either stupidity or naïveté of the offended person and troll more, unless they were both in on it together as some kind of short-bus in-joke. Usually it was not a funny one, more like pathetic. Some of them even knew it and though they tried to still contribute, you could tell their hearts weren’t really in it- they had seen too much and for too long, it neither angered or annoyed them. It was more like a mixture of resignation and boredom.

Curiously, the lackeys and hangers-on respected some of the trolls, even as they didn’t get what was going on, they mistook these people’s realization of wasting time as suspect- it could lead to maturity, or worse. Going to these people with anything, a legitimate gripe, advice: either giving or asking, or a plea for help , it was all so useless and sometimes even engendered hostility, as if you had broken through the two-way mirror and they figured if you were smart enough to see what was truly going on, oh no, you might even figure out even more than that-your being there was a threat.

There existed a true grade-school, and I mean young grade-school mentality in this world because although you could be somewhat anonymous, all the other stuff was out there for those who were looking at what made you react and what that meant. Being the outlier wasn’t going to pay in this world, but neither was totally sucking up. The only way to win was not to play, as having what I talked about earlier, a strong core, was usually perceived as threatening, whereas if for whatever reason you did not have a strong sense of who you were, or a need to be accepted- well, that was good news to them, because then you could be shaped, you could perhaps serve a purpose.

Most of us were ‘broken’ or at least scratched up in some way in this world. You could really see how people devolved to animal-level behavior when cornered. Some ranted and raved, some withdrew, some yelled and stormed off. Some started their own separate campaign, feeling slighted and needing to prove someone wrong, or simply take away their toys because they just hated them. Almost all of them seemed to lack social skills, even very basic ones, the other parts of their brain were compensating madly.

You could stand stock-still and not evolve in the slightest, and attract the same, or you could continually re-invent yourself to fit whatever was the popular thing at the time. Re-inventing not to be confused with actually evolving. Either way, you would get your ‘haters’ or your followers. There would always be one or the other, and either way it could serve you, as either way, it kept you out there, kept you ‘relevant’. Maybe there really was ‘no such thing as bad publicity’.

Some in this world had remarkably good memories, while others just kept copy-catting or saying the same things over and over in different ways, as if it were some bizarre kind of OCD competition, maybe mixed with some paranoia and hostility. Was thinking that looking that afraid or even crazy somehow translated to ‘badass’? The ‘logic’ in this world was strained and would change regularly. There were stealth trolls, who tried to pretend they were like most of the others, but would give themselves away. It was interesting to notice who gave them up or called them out and who would defend, downplay or ignore them so they could continue covertly insulting and undermining people.

Some would start off as friendly, in retrospect almost too much so, and then would say something that seemed ‘off’, something that seemed designed to piss someone off- the backhanded compliment or shallowly-buried insult-you could see them licking their chops and gloating in their own little world ‘oh look at all the retards that don’t get it, and we’re laughing at them behind the scenes’. Sometimes one of these would go too far and then would back-pedal, reverting to singing the praises of those they were sucking up to, or making one of those lame coated statements, like So-and-So IS a total dick, but I’ve never known a more (insert whatever other worshipful adjective or phrase)…

The ones who did this usually overestimated their own cleverness- this only served to make others suspicious rather than reassured. It was obvious in the non-responses to this crap, or the half-assed reply, that didn’t thank the person for their ass-kissery, but simply the act of any kind of acknowledgement made that ass-kisser grateful. Either that or the ass-kisser was actually trolling the person in charge, and having a laugh of their own. You couldn’t even tell if their words or behavior was consistent over time as things they said disappeared, their names or sign-up dates changed, their words changed around or edited. What you could tell, though, especially over time- was that it was mostly all BS.

There will be more.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s