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social inhibitions

I was at a grocery store over the weekend; replenishing my languishing food supplies. At the tail end of my shopping extravaganza I found myself waiting in line. There were 4 lines; each one was pretty evenly filled, with about 3 shopping carts to the line.

Seeing this backup, the manager of the store announced he would ring someone up, pointing to an empty checkout lane. He began clearing some items to make way to this checkout lane, and found he had no takers.

Being an energetic fellow, he began waving his arms and hollering that he would check someone out.

I was confused; the song that happened to be playing over the store speakers went along with this. And I initially thought he was reliving some high-school, or college experience, with which this particular song was associated.

When this all started, I instinctively froze. The inner child in me did not want to wait in line. But the adult in me was too shy to take up this energetic offer. In the end, the adult in me won out, and I stood there hands tightly clasped to my shopping cart. Staring at the long wait in line I had in front of me. Pretending I somehow had not noticed the offer to quick freedom.

I wasn’t alone though. I had a competitor. I mean, everyone around me was a competitor, but this lady in particular was in a prime location to take advantage of the offer, as was I. But, she also was unwilling to accept the offer. I’m confident she was experiencing the same social anxieties I was. Only she handled them differently. Instead of freezing and ignoring the situation, she made awkward half-laughed/half-spoken comments. I don’t recall what they were, my mind was still coping with the rapid switch to survival mode.

After all was said and done, nobody at all took the manager up on his offer. Each person (I’m guessing there were 4-5) had at least a 10 minute wait in line ahead of them. Yet somehow the prospect of jumping into the limelight to accept the offer was less desirable than simply biding their time at their chosen checkout lane.

We all were like the Myotonic goats of Tennessee. It’s actually kind of funny to see in goats (see this). In social situations like the one I’m describing. Where the resulting characteristics of those involved closely relates to that of the Myotonic goat…it’s still just funny.

Which presents our conclusion; people scare people. It is said that the fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all. And because humans are pretty much uncalculating particles of spastic mass, we naturally have a deep seeded fear of one another. Sometimes this fear is unfounded. And other times, it is confirmed valid beyond a doubt.

Read it in the bathroom! Print It! Read it in the bathroom! Print It!

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6 Responses to “Ecstatic Social Inhibition”

  1. on 21 May 2007 at 11:54 pmGRAND MASTER H IN YO FACE :)

    yeah goats and sheep? hmmm more choices for the beast menu

  2. on 22 May 2007 at 1:32 pmStephen

    Yes, I messed up on the picture. For some reason I thought the Myotonic goats were actually sheep. Thus the image of a bomb (which is supposed to scare them) and the sheep (which would freeze)….yeah its a long stretch.

    The picture stays!

  3. on 22 May 2007 at 2:00 pmC-assie

    I am yet again, amazed at your recent ponderment.
    How you pull such vivid life explanations from the most unflattering situations really send me in a tizzy.
    I don’t bow down to your greatness, but I’m willing to give you a fierce high five the next time I see you.

  4. on 23 May 2007 at 11:22 amStephen

    Technical difficulty: Looks like this post has a few issues. Just corrected an image error which caused the header image to overlap the text for Internet Explorer 6 users.

    @C-assie: I plan on an awesomely fierce high five next time i see you. But you have to initiate.

  5. on 24 May 2007 at 3:56 pmblackmat

    Stephen, I completely agree with your comparison, myotonic goats to people. However you must remember not all of us are socially retarded, I for one am only socially disabled. I would say you should work on it, but the truth is you can’t beat the parking pass.
    -Mat

  6. on 24 May 2007 at 4:44 pmStephen

    @blackmat: haha, touché.

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