Friday, March 28, 2008

observing or judging?

i realized something today on my journey home from oslo. i didn't realize it yet as i sat in the airport, looking around and noting down observations, such as that the woman next to me kept putting her camera up to her ear, as if it were a phone. why did she do that? was she a private detective trying to take surreptitious pictures of the people across the way? (this crossed my mind.) or was she just mental? or drunk at 11 a.m. and thought it was her phone? what was it?

i was only when i got on the metro in copenhagen that i realized what it is. i look around and my head is full of judgements:
  • cheap shoes
  • cool shoes
  • very cool shoes
  • trashy shoes
  • (why are they all about shoes?)
  • bad nose
  • nice coat
  • good haircut
  • did they do that to their hair on purpose and moreover, did they PAY something for it?
  • is she wearing pants?
  • shouldn't she be wearing pants?
  • leiderhosen--an interesting fashion choice for a 60-year-old woman

how do you turn it off? i'd actually LIKE to turn it off. but, something in us is constantly judging. i actually watched another girl (the one who may not/should have been wearing pants) watch a couple have a conversation and could see on her face that SHE was judging. (they were having a totally empty conversation.)

i remember when i first came to denmark and didn't understand danish, i thought that all of the conversations around me on the public transportation were totally of high level importance--the fate of the polar bear, whether postmodernism was indeed the cultural logic of late capitalism, björk's latest album. they weren't. they were about grandma's hemorrhoids, same as anywhere else.

but, the stories we tell ourselves about others in our heads are interesting, aren't they? i make up stories about the people i see around me all the time. i have a theory that i can tell by looking at any other person at the train which danish newspaper they subscribe to. just by their clothing, glasses and the expression on their face. i've been proven right many times, when they take the newspaper in question out of their bag and begin to read it.

i suppose along with those stories one tells oneself about the others on the train or the bus or in the airport, there is always an element of judgement. we are constantly assessing whether people are like us or not. perhaps it's just human nature. but i'd like to be more aware and try to keep it to the level of observation and stop judging so much. maybe the first step is realizing what's going on in my head...

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Let me be brave. No I better not because how am I to judge people out loud. It is already bad enough that these thoughts sprout out of my brain.