May 30, 2008

I want something from you…

Once upon a time in America, when someone came home from work, the store, or from picking the kids up from school… they parked (the one car the family owned) in their driveway or carport. Got out of the car and said hello and had a brief conversation with their neighbors and then went inside. If the phone rang, they answered it, eager to speak with the caller.

People belonged to civic clubs, people attended small churches, block parties were very common, and everybody knew their neighbors. Everyone showed up for the PTA spaghetti dinner.

Every kid knew every kid in a 3 block radius.

Then something changed… people became less concerned about interacting and more concerned with getting. The multimedia advertising revolution and our obsession with obtaining and protecting more stuff changed the way we looked at life.

Now, we drive our car payment into our gated neighborhood, pull into the garage, close the automatic door, and cocoon ourselves away from everyone. We like to be wrapped in our silk…500 cable channels of distraction, HDTV, surround sound, the internet 24/7, and our video gaming systems. Few of us have time for civic groups that give back. To meet our spiritual needs, we go to mega-churches and remain anonymous.

We open the junk mail (90% of what we get) over the wastebasket. All calls go to voice mail unless we like the caller’s ID. (We’re glad we signed up for the ‘no-call’ list.) We get the pop-ups just trying to weed through our junk email or navigate to our favorite websites. We turn on the TV and get the same ads that we heard in the car on the radio. The non-stop barrage tells us what we’re missing. They demand that we buy. The ad screams: “I want you to take action.” So we can have more stuff.

Call now, operators are standing by!

Don’t delay, supplies are running out!

Act fast, the sale ends tomorrow!

This new ______ is the best; get yours now!

Everybody wants something from us. Our careers want our precious time. The monster of materialism wants our precious money. We’ve been conditioned to be guarded. We are suspect of strangers, especially the ones with candy.

So a guy walks into a bar, eager to meet some new people. But those new people have been conditioned that everyone wants something from them. The guy walking into the bar, he himself the stranger, is conditioned. He’s heard it since he was 5 years old when McGruff the Crime Dog came to his kindergarten class and lectured his classmates. Every kid, now an adult in the bar, is conditioned: don’t talk to strangers.

So, he’s in the bar/club/lounge trying to meet people…

Hey, can I get your opinion?

What time do you have?

You’re hot, I can’t believe you expect me not to come over and say ‘hello’.

Do you guys come here often?

What are you drinking?

Do you know where ______ is?

_______fill in this blank with _________ (translation: I want something from you.)

We want: a laugh at our jokes, a warm response to our opener, her not to pull away when we claw, a hug, a smile, a kiss, you not to reject me, a free drink, the acceptance of your group, your time, your attention, your sex.

How about going out with the idea of not wanting anything from people? Give them a break, they are out trying to drink, socialize, party and take a break from everybody who wants something from them. They have a demanding boyfriend, girlfrend, husband, wife, kids, boss, room mate, or parent.

They may be there to celebrate a birthday/divorce/nuptials and just cut loose for awhile.

Be the Social Santa Claus with a big bag of good vibes. (They will want to sit on your lap later)

How about your group having fun and talking about what’s going on in your lives? This is what normal adults do: Let me tell you about my boss. You won’t believe what my cousin did. Let me tell you about the woman I met last night. Guess where I’m going next week. I got a promotion. I’m looking for a new job. I got a new dog. I shot a 90 at the golf course last Wednesday. I broke 25 minutes at the 5k. I’ve been hitting the gym hard. I’ve got this crazy client, you won’t believe this story.

You might need to get a life to talk about it.

Now a stranger walks by your group in the bar…

Hey what’s up? How’s it going? What’s the occasion? Where are your friends?

I’m great. Good times. Cheers. Have fun. Take care. Be well. We’re going here and there. We’re having a party.

They won’t be eager to walk away, and you may meet a new friend or lover.

Where was I at the beginning? Oh yeah…

I want something from you… on second thought, no I don’t.

I have what you want.


1 comment:

  1. Everybody Wants Something From us.

    Not that we have anything to give.

    We've all been conditioned that everyone wants something from us and every stranger [anyone you don't already know] is better than even odds to be some kind of vicious pedophiliac person who wants something from you. Don't Talk To Strangers! Don't talk to anybody if you can help it.
    Humans are agents trying to determine how much they have to gain from one another. A hug, a smile, a kiss, a fight, a victim, a mark, a free drink, acceptance, feigned acceptance, time, indulgence, blame absorbent, a set of limbs-face-torso-and-moistslotstaff.

    How about going out with the conviction that you don't want anything from anyone else? They're only trying to avoid the crowds of people who say that they don't want anything from them but are palpably lying.
    Be the Social Santa Claus with a big bag of good vibes. (They will want to sit on your lap later, and you'll get what you want from them after all.)

    It's important to always have a lifestyle that someone can picture being a TV show, or sounds like it's saturated with money, in order to be a human that people will think is worth treating like a human being and not a subhumanoid.

    Now a stranger walks by your group in the bar. He's hovering about three feet away with his back turned. Your lady friend taps his shoulder and crushes a beer mug into his face multiple times when he turns to acknowledge her. "Fuck You, Fucking Asshole!" she shrieks at him. He's on the floor with his face split open, losing blood everywhere.

    There's no way they won't be eager to walk away from you.

    I have what you want. But, you'll get it from me too. And I won't have it anymore.

    [This is a Nightmare World variation on this post. I'm keeping a copy for myself.]


I like the robust exchange of ideas. Mature, relevant comments will be kept regardless of viewpoint.