Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Sitting Man and Standing Man: A Character Study

A Standing Man grabs the back of a Sitting Man's bus seat for balance. Sitting Man is Not Happy. Standing Man says, finally: "I'm getting off the bus soon." Sitting Man replies loudly: "I don't care."

What is happening here? Is the Standing Man really saying, "I see you?" Or, perhaps in long form: "I see that you're uncomfortable, you don't have to be an asshole about it, I'm getting off soon?"

Like that lady on the plane who stands, and fidgets, and checks her watch fifteen times, and sighs so loudly and graphically that she blows out your ear drums-and every fifteen seconds, too- until someone turns around and says, "Lady, we're all gonna get off the plane, would you mind not driving MY heart rate through the roof by controlling yourself?"

And the head shaking Sitting Man, saying to the standing man, loudly, "I don't care, man."

Standing man: "Well, clearly you do, because you keep looking at me and violently shaking your head."

Sitting man: "I don't care, man. I don't care about you."

Standing man gets off bus.

Sitting man continues to talk to the people around him. "I don't care, I don't care if he comes or goes," (rearranges lunch bag) "I don't care if he shits or blows," (drops lunch bag) "he doesn't feed me, I don't pay him, " (puts lunch bag on floor) "I don't care about him, I know this bus is always packed, that's why I tried to catch the 6:50." (Picks lunch bag off floor, drops it, tries to pick it back up, misses his grab, juggles it for a minute, knocks it over, and finally puts it back in his lap so he can keep an eye on this troublesome object.) He shrugs his shoulders several times. 

And what is the sitting man trying to say, with this performance? Obviously the standing man is correct: the sitting man cares very much. But the sitting man believes, or very much wants to believe, his own vehement denials. (Well. Don't we all?)

Also, the sitting man is wearing "dressy" sweat pants with pockets, which in itself is fine, but he's wearing them *with black dress shoes* like he thinks they're real pants, or, worse, that he knows they're not but he doesn't think anyone is going to notice. Men have been hated for less.