A STUDY OF SOMEONE YOU KNOW
July 9 2009
Ayad Izzet Gharbawi
My eyes open, and as usual, I don't feel like getting up. I'm still sleepy, feeling lazy and bored to do anything. But I've got to get up, because I have something called work. And work gets my rent paid and gives me food to stay alive.
So, these are serious enough reasons, I think, to go to work, and that means that I've got to get out of bed.
I think of what clothes to put on.
Does this match with this? Is this too formal? Is this too casual? Is this piece in mode, or out of mode? Did I wear this yesterday - can't be seen wearing the same piece of clothing two days in a row!? What will people think of me wearing this piece? Anyway, I realize time is moving on, so I've got to do something I quite dislike: making a decision. And so I do decide, and I wear something that inevitably I am not 100% sure is perfect.
I take the bus to go to work.
Everyone does their best not to look at anyone else. It's one of those unique situations where society tells you that you are simply not allowed to look at anyone else - except for children. Other examples, include the humble elevator, being in any doctor or office waiting room. And, of course, it is kind of hard not to look at anyone because we humans were created by God to be a little bit curious, so, despite what are hallowed society taught us, it does go against our God-given instincts not to look at anyone else. So, like everyone else I guess, I must restrain my eyeballs from not looking at anyone else.
But then again, what do you do when someone next to you happens to smell awful? What do you do when someone is staring at you? Well, I myself, just try to ignore them. What else can I do?
All right, so now I'm at work and guess what? That's right, work is awful. Why is my work awful? Well, first and foremost, because my boss makes it his passionate lifelong ambition to make all of our lives as difficult as humanly conceivable. Secondly, the nature of my job itself is boring and what can I do about that fact? Third, my wages are a joke, with pay increases that are symbolic. So, how do I sum up my time at work: a mixture of sheer mental stress and hours of boredom.
All right, I leave work and I call my friends so we can meet at some cafe.
Time for acting! We meet at the cafe, pretend we are not looking at anyone else and ask for the menu, even though we've been to this cafe ten million times before, and even though the cafe really serves you nothing more than coffee and other basic drinks. And then, when the waiter comes and produces his profound question that he must deliver, 'What would you like to have?' we pretend that we are still thinking about the question and searching for an answer. The waiter feels his job is 'important' because we sad customers have to 'think' about what to order. We then blandly order a coffee, some diet cokes and 7-Ups. The waiter proudly leaves us to give the handwritten order to the chef, or should I say to the Giver of Drinks employee.
Next, we all of a sudden grab our mobile phones and look to see if anyone called us. No one called me - how dreadfully embarrassing. I keep on looking at my mobile, moving my fingers, pretending as if someone called me and trying to pretend to be 'busy' with my mobile. What does that mean? I'm obviously trying to give the impression that I am so well loved by so many people that I need sometime to 'answer' all the people who are interested in me. But, as I say, no one actually called me. Yes, I'm disappointed, but I am not exactly surprised. I do know how many people I know (or how little a number of people I know) - but that is a secret number that no one tells to anyone, otherwise, people will brand you as a total loser.
Finally, after the mobile phase, we produce a conversation.
Any conversation. Quality does not count here.
"So, how've you been?"
"Haven't seen you for a long time; have you been away?"
"My day was so stressful."
"Did you see that piece of clothing I bought?"
"Have you seen the latest mobile?"
"Did you see how person 'A' behaved last night? Wasn't that disgraceful?"
And so on.
Yes, these are the subjects we talk about and if you want to be 'socially successful', you must pretend to be interested in the subject matter, even though, in truth, you are struggling with your jaw muscles in order not to yawn.
Because, if you yawn, that means you're telling your supposed 'friend' that they are boring the life out of you, and that means the worst consequences will fall upon you. And what are those fearful consequences? That person you just happened to yawn in his face will not invite you again and will choose not to socialise with you. He has socially ostracized you, and in our civilisation, if enough people cut you off, then you become a social outcast and that is the worst condition to be in.
And you can't blame him! I mean, you just yawned in front of his face and in front of your other 'friends'. In other words, you've sent your message to everyone on your table, and anyone else in the cafe who may be watching that poor person 'A' is an anaesthetic and, as I say, in civilised society, calling anyone 'boring to the point of being unable not to yawn' is the worst offense conceivable.
So, the pointless, bland conversations go on. You smoke becomes your friends smoke. When your friends laugh, you better laugh. Never mind that you are drifting in and out of the tedious conversations. Never mind that you are finding it hard to continually concentrate on what your friends are saying. As I say, do what they do; just copy them and no one will notice that your mind isn't really with at all.
You must be part of the crowd' - you don't want to be left out!
We pretend that we need to keep our hair in good shape. We must again look at our mobiles, even though no one has called.
Our proud waiter now returns with a degree of friendliness that is unwarranted. He serves your drinks. Now everyone drinks and makes sure they do not spill drops of their drink on their clothes, because that's another taboo our beloved civilisation told us is absolutely forbidden.
Time for the bill. The waiter brings it and now the same scene is repeated every time a waiter brings a bill to any table: everyone sitting pretends that they are really desperate to pay for everyone else. What a farce! Of course, no one wants to pay the hated bill, but, as I said, this was a time for acting. Finally, someone pays, because if you overdo the pretending that everyone wants to pay, then you can all look like serious idiots.
So you go home. Your parents annoy you, just as your brothers and sisters and God knows who else may be at your home. Someone inevitably asks you:
"So, where've you been all night?"
I answer: "I've been where I'm supposed to be."
They: "You don't decide 'where you're supposed to be'; we decide where you're supposed to be. So what's the answer?"
And so it goes on.
I look at some books, and I get bored. I look at some magazines, and soon, I get bored too. Television is boring. The food is unappetising.
My God, what is the matter with me?!
Is there something 'wrong' with me?
After all, how can it be that everything and everyone and every situation I find myself in, is wrong, annoying, superficial, insincere and boring?
Maybe I am the one who is basically all wrong and messed up?
Who knows the answer anyway? The answers to the vexing questions of life are simply nowhere to be found as far as I am concerned.
My parents never guided me, nor was anyone a guiding hand for me.
All my life, I was left to find the paths of decency and morality and choice of career all on my own.
That's laughable! Who has enough brain cells these days to advise you on anything?
Oh God, maybe I'm being arrogant again.
I just don't know.