As I bloom into the flawless and exceptional adult that I’m obviously on track for becoming (any day now, I promise), I’m beginning to notice more and more about the odd amalgam of adults that comprise Society.
And let me tell you something – perhaps my most acute observation. You’re mad, the lot of you.
You don’t eat chocolate bars by layers, for one thing. You eat them chunk by chunk, like wild animals. You talk about things like “finances” and “bills” and “tax rebate” (the latter of which I’ve come to learn is a glorious thing). You spend your money wisely, and you can’t function without at least two coffees a day. You colour-coordinate. You eat vegetables, and read books without pictures.
Yet one of the reasons as to why you are inarguably mad, in my opinion, is because of your approaches to acceptable social conduct. Because if there’s anything weirder than adult mannerisms, it’s adults responding to other’s adult mannerisms.
There’s the whole, crazy debacle of “eye contact”, for one thing. Particularly when you’re on public transport, there’s a common danger that you’ll drift off into your own world, and leave your social sense unguarded – a mistake which often ends up with you staring at the person in front of you like a serial killer, when you’re actually thinking about the last time you tasted candyfloss.
This is not approved of in the crazy world of adult etiquette.
It’s okay to dream like this when you’re two – not so much when you’re twenty-two. People immediately FEAR you when you’re in your own world. Which is unfortunate, as often the only thing which can knock you out of this mental, unknowingly begun staring challenge is the shrewd adult sitting next to you, who may choose to cough on your behalf (subliminally imploring you to cut it out) and try to communicate with you via telepathy to stop it, you’re an adult now and this is weird social conduct, which – depending on the depth of your daydream – you may or may not choose to ignore.
I can’t help but wonder – where did “adult” etiquette, like this whole “staring” thing, begin? Why is it rude to make eye-contact? Isn’t it a little crazy that it’s so weird to lock eyes with someone you don’t know? It’s not like you can see people’s thoughts bouncing around behind their irises, that you’re the perpetrator of some great intrusion.
I suppose I’m an extra degree of mad in considering this rule, as I occasionally like to toy with it by choosing to stare my starer’s out, until they cave or a massive bead of sweat runs down their forehead and they betray themselves to be an anime character.
Adult pedestrians also seem to be a bit paranoid. I don’t know if that’s just me, or if I’m a particularly intimidating person to be close to in public – but some people genuinely look a little scared of me from time to time. I mean, I get it, to an extent – my floral headphones, slightly nervous gait and penchant to eat croissants while I walk to work does scream “MURDERER!” I often find on my morning commute to the office that, when I’m walking quite closely to someone, they’ll turn around several times, wide-eyed, to gawp.
I find it hard to know how to respond to this. Do I have a frightening tread? The ominous step of a mugger? Does my kitten-covered scarf look like a balaclava in the shadows!?
Who can tell. I’m just going to blame the crazy brain adults inherit.
Perhaps adults’ responses to me are partially due to my loudness. I’ve been told that I’m louder than most. I don’t really have an “inside voice” (“why wouldn’t everyone want to hear what I have to say?”, I obnoxiously respond to people who point this out). This, of course, makes me a monster in the quiet carriages of trains and around the elderly in public, who don’t particularly like to hear people emphatically making love to their cinnamon bun on a park bench or giving a Sergeant General boy-related pep-talk to their friend down the phone.
Again, the empty circle around me expands as I increase my social-pariah status.
But I don’t think I’m all that bad. Loudness and garish pattern-matching aside, I think I’m a pretty nice person. To everyone – crazy adults included. Hey – I am one, after all.
Perhaps I should just invest in lighter shoes.