So in keeping with tradition, our society has established some norms and codes that have managed to pervade our lives regardless of culture, nationality or age. There’s this thing about us humans – we love to create nonsensical rules for the thrill of making a defined framework that controls us. It’s human nature. We want to arrogate everything in our sight to ourselves. We make the rules. We make the code. We make the framework. It all boils down to the human agency, which legend has it, has a way of screwing up things.
Some protocols we learn by the power of observation. Some we accept after familial pressure. And some, we just know. There’s no other way, we just know. But I, I have always considered myself a rebel ahead of her times, or maybe a firebrand revolutionary in making. Cause or not, I’ve always fancied doing things in a different way. But when I see protocols that make no sense, it pushes all of my buttons causing me to question mankind and it’s eternal love for rules and obligations.
Here are some norms/etiquettes/codes/protocols that I have a problem understanding –
1. The immense pressure of making small talk. For people suffering from social anxiety, it’s basically diving in the Devil’s personal hot spring. To steer a conversation with a stranger is asking a lot from someone for whom parties and social gatherings are equivalent to the good ol’ fashioned public beheading. And statistics prove that the socially awkward is an emerging class that has made its presence felt on the globe.
2. Allowing people to gloat, coupled with appreciative smiles and sufficient enlargement of eyes. Oh you have a new job? How wonderful, it must pay handsomely. Your kid won the junior spelling bee? He’s a prodigy in making, you must be sooooooo proud. There’s a difference between genuine appreciation, and the kind that’s obviously faked. And likewise, there’s a difference between casually mentioning a personal achievement, and launching into a dramatic monologue about the same.
3. Shutting up for an eternity after stepping into an elevator. Apparently you’re supposed to maintain a poker face while staring at the roof or the control buttons. DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH FELLOW PASSENGERS. DO NOT SPEAK OR SMILE OR SIGH. If you don’t breathe too, that will be lovely.
4. Cut back on “disrespectful” sarcasm. Because speaking back to someone is frowned upon. Idiocy must be countered with goodness and kindness. Not sass.
* Le Friend calls at 2 A.M. *
Friend : Hey, you were sleeping?
Me : I was just setting up my barbecue grill at this ungodly hour. Come over right now!
Friend : Really? At this time?
* Le friend steps on my baby toe *
Friend : Oops! Did it hurt?
Me : Not at all. It just felt like a million macaws shredding my soul.
Friend : Huh?
Someday I’ll break through these ‘normal’ phenomena that are actually diktats for me. Hope springs eternal.