Monday, March 16, 2009
Visions and Revisions
I was a sociology major in college. A required course was SOCY 103, Sociological Theory, and I was fortunate enough to have as my professor George Ritzer, who wrote The McDonaldization of Society, now in its 5th edition.
Ritzer encouraged us to conduct sociological experiments wherever we went. For example, he said that when we make our way around campus, we should fall into step with someone and walk right next to them. As you might hypothesize, this weirds people out (that's the sociological term), because it is unexpected. Similarly, Ritzer said that when we step into elevators we should face the people in them, contravening the typical practice of turning to face the doors. The riders don't quite know what to do with themselves.
This morning, I was riding in the elevator from the 6th level of the Metro parking garage. The elevator doors opened on the second level. Since the elevator never stops on 2 (these people couldn't walk down ONE flight), a couple of riders got confused and stepped off, and others followed without thinking. This had the effect of breaking the silent elevator tension, and we all had a good laugh and slapped our foreheads at how scatterbrained we are.
It often amazes me how tiny behavior bits can sometimes have tectonic shift effects. I had content in a post here that turned out to be objectionable, and when I found out, I completely flipped and removed the post before anyone else was exposed to it. My confidence was severely wounded, and since this blog has only just begun, I felt kind of like I'd just bought a car, driven it off the lot, and promptly hit an innocent mailbox with it, crunching its right front fender and marring the brand-newness immediately.
But then I realized that once the car is dented, you don't have to worry so much about retaining perfection. Just keep changing the oil and rotate the tires every so often. The gorgeous and divine sjfrog left a comment here with the words "extremely funny" in it, and another lovely reader today referred to me as a "bearer of joy." More than enough to restore my confidence, and now, you can only see the dent when the sun shines on the car in a certain way.
This is an ever-evolving experiment, Professor. With trial comes error, and perhaps some happy accidents, too. In the words of Hell's Kitchen contestant Robert, when he was handed a bit of authority: "Yeah, baby, gimme the reins, let me drive this bitch."
The things that happen may affect us, but we are still in control.