Avoiding the Crowd

Today is the St. John’s Regatta – a long running event that not only features a set of rowing races but also a variety booths with food vendors , games of chance, and other fun things.

I used to go every year with my family when I was young but now I haven’t been there in over 20 years, maybe longer. And I have no desire to be around that many people.

I enjoyed being with a large group when I was younger and I never gave much thought to crowds but now the thought of spending time in a crowd exhausts me.

For a long time, I thought I had just gotten out of the habit or that I had kind of borrowed my husband’s aversion to crowds and I kind of chastised myself for taking that on unnecessarily.

But now, I don’t think that’s what happened.

When I was young, I had someone else to do the navigating for me – to get me there, to make a plan, to choose how long we were spending at an event.

And I was less consciously aware of my own feelings, energy, and discomfort. I would put aside my feelings for the good of the people I was with.

I *can* still put my feelings aside now when necessary but back then I did it automatically. And I would sometimes get overwhelmed and say or do something that was embarrassing or that I regretted later. Or I would burn myself out and have no energy for days after an event with a big crowd.

So, I think that when I was younger, having someone else manage a lot of the details was a buffer for me that made crowds easier.

And the fact that I wasn’t paying attention to my feelings, comfort, and energy meant that I didn’t notice the things I notice now about being in a crowd.

I can still be around crowds when the event is structured (like a concert) or when I have a specific role (I’m the host or I have a job that needs to get done and I can prioritize that) or if my desire to be at the event is stronger than my desire to avoid a crowd (i.e. someone’s wedding) but mostly I avoid crowds and save my energy for things that I enjoy more.

And I’m ok with that.

I’m not sure which is worse

I’m bored to tears with a certain type of reaction I see popping up both in real life and on the internets, a knee-jerk dismissal of an entire school of thought, type of music or activity, or approach to life.

I see it with people who dismiss artists, or single moms (or women in general),  liberals (or conservatives),  folk musicians, PC (or Mac) users, or whathaveyou.  And I jsut don’t get it.  I’m all for people having opinions (hell, I have one or two myself) but I’m firmly against people pretending that those opinions are fact, that they are stating some sort of universal truth.

I can’t even imagine what it is like to not try and see why other people might like the things they do.

This isn’t a ‘Oh, why can’t we all get along?’  plea.  It’s a ‘Really, you’ve got no other outlet for this crap?’

There’s an example here at Learn From My Fail where someone made the mistake of grabbing their friend, a Taekwondo practioner, from behind while they were walking in the dark and they got the crap kicked out of them.  The entry is not the problem, the comment about how Taekwondo is pathetic is.

Why would you even bother to go there?  You can like TKD(or anything else), you can hate it, you can think it is stupid, I don’t care.  What I do care about is when people publicly casually dismiss anything they don’t do themselves.  It’s one thing to do that in conversation, where you can demonstrate that you are joking, or where you know that the people around you know your history with the topic at hand, but it is a whole different thing to troll about about it and cause a shit storm*.

I mean, why would you bother?  If you don’t like a band on YouTube you can just go on to something else or you can give them some critique,  you don’t need to post that the band are a bunch of morons.  If you think TKD is pointless, you don’t have to participate, I don’t think you are affecting TKD in the least.

Are there really people out there who are so dismissive of everything?  Is this their knee-jerk reaction to everything that isn’t in their range of activities?  I don’t know whether to hope that it is a thoughtless dismissal or to hope it is a considered opinion.

Because if there are people out there filled with hate that they seek out activities they dislike just to crap on them, that’s one kind of scary.  If there are people out there who are so indifferent to other people and so intolerant of other people’s lives that they dismiss anything outside their sphere of interest as pathetic and pointless, that’s a whole different kind of scary.

I don’t know which is worse.

*I can almost see the people who troll on purpose, at least they are stirring up shit with intention.  But the people who honestly, really feel like this is a valid form of communication, a worthwhile thing to do? They’re exhausting.