Human Categories?

Before I babble, a few favourites and faraway-summer-dreaming.

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Dungarees bring back memories of England. I’d slide in the buckle and feel all countryside yet proper. Rustic warmth in denim fibres.

To the point.

So you see, I’m always laughing on the inside.

When I see a girl or boy on the street trapped in a bubble. Of the latest trends or ways of communication. Of happiness and nonchalance. Of bits and bobs of life’s seemingly finest. Polka dots and stripes and all the huppdeedoo patterns in between.

Of course, who am I to judge. They’re probably just like me or far greater under all that. They feel obliged to present themselves in such a manner and perhaps I myself am trapped in a bubble of dissonance and lowly curtness. I, Alex, The Psychotic Observer of this peaceful and harmonious world (well sometimes, especially after the Boston fiasco. My prayers reside amongst their graves, together with those in the Middle East. We tend to talk heavy on a western bias when it comes to death, don’t we?)

No, these people are probably not blindly following trends for the sake of doing so; that girl with 5 inches of make up, bright pink stilettos and purple peplum top might just have earned a PhD in economics at Harvard university.

Same goes for that round and soft human being hanging around corners in a baggy shirt with peace sign logos and jodhpurs. On the other hand, someone who looks the most smart or put together may not necessarily be just as so on the inside. This might sound as stupid as saying a girl eating a croissant isn’t always French, but then again, sometimes circumstance and context throw me off board, together with a human sentience and empathy threshold. Really, it does, and sometimes I’m plain embarrassed by it. Every day I walk past people I don’t know personally and immediately fasten them into categories; categories they might not even belong in or which they only feel inclined to be a part of due to selection pressures in the Great Social Survival.

I recall walking around with my dad at the Botanic Gardens and coming across a meek old man with stiff and oily silver locks half covering thick spectacles, which in turn gave his small eyes a demeaning glaze. He stopped for a while to adjust his stained brown running shorts. Sweat made his translucent singlet fully transparent, with some bits clinging to rather unflattering areas.

‘Hey, Prof!’ Dad walked over to Brown Man. The latter held his ground, his stare thoughtful and a tad crazed, if I might.

So. Professor and lecturer at NUS (National University of Singapore). Taught my dad in the 80s and still going strong. I could literally feel an outpouring of speechless respect and unknowing adoration from this selfish and judgmental soul of mine.

There was a huge barbecue party at my house once, thanks to an abundance of leftover charcoal from the robust remains of last year’s soiree (newly stocked!) An olive-skinned, gangly woman in her 30s or 40s came in looking every part the look-at-me Caucasian socialite. Her perfectly manicured fingernails could have killed a tiger cub. That crotch-skimming dress reeled in all the looks. All this whilst I was on my second serving of homemade tiramisu, hair a straggly mess. When I greeted her and offered some champagne, I must’ve looked like I was sprouting algae.

But oh wait, she’s only a doctor with a professional background in the Art of Violin Playing.

I guess my assumptions are my mistakes. Lesson learnt.

2 thoughts on “Human Categories?

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