Feb 28, 2009

Hello...or perhaps not.

I'm not overly friendly with all of my classmates. I'm not a social butterfly.

I'm friendly with maybe five percent of them.

I can start a random conversation with about seventy five percent of them.

The remaining twenty percent I simply can't relate to.

I speak from experience. I was once thrown into a group discussion with a portion of that twenty percent. My naively enthusiastic 'So, what do you guys think?' was met with downcast eyes and mumbled responses. I was at a lost for the first five minutes of the discussion. Despite their individually buoyant personalities, they turn reticent when it comes to one-on-one interaction.

I was driven to wonder, 'Do these people think they're still in high school?'

When they were in high school, did they actually listen when their mothers tell them not to talk to strangers? They certainly don't look the type.

I had the misfortune of running into these recalcitrant barely-eighteen-year-olds in the bus on my way home from work today.

I saw one of them looking at me with a nervous glance when I boarded the bus. All the seats were taken and I was left with the one right across the aisle from the conversationally-handicapped-stubble-chinned. Much to my chagrin, the person seated next to this one was another member of that tight-lipped 20-percentile.

What an awkward situation. The moment passed for either one of us to civilly acknowledge the other's presence. No one said anything while I tried to imagine a way to break the silence. Finally I decided we were all party to this snobbishness; them even more so since they had the advantage of each other's company.

Even though I maintain a resolute gaze forward, our proximity in the bus enabled me to observe their behaviour without the intention to observe their behaviour. It was similar to watching synchronized diving, except there is no water and the participants were bundled up in winter wear instead of clad in skimpy briefs.

They simultaneously (perhaps even instinctively) brought out their respective iPods/iPhones/escapist gizmotechs and began to (perhaps arbitrarily) tinker with them. Next came the foot-tapping and nervous finger drumming on knees or handle bars, depending on where they're seated. They did a terrible job at masking the awkwardness of the situation by looking around the bus. There's not much to look at in the bus accept for ad campaigns to get children excited about homework or to stop them from being abused (perhaps by forcing them to do homework).

This situation is either too ridiculous or too awkward. Good thing the collar of my coat goes all the way up to my nose. It gets hard to repress a smile in the cold. I've learned that pursing your lips doesn't help. It just makes you look like your trying not to yawn. There's nothing wrong with repressing a yawn except you look twice as ridiculous compared to when you're trying to repress a smile.

Meanwhile the silent duo was studiously examining their gadgets again. They must have detected the threat of a friendly greeting.

Whatev, people. Whatev.

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