Thursday, October 14, 2004


Philosopher's Errand

Commuting is a drag. Evil, but necessary. By now it’s become a tedious routine, but I always try to keep myself in focus by finding anomalies throughout the trip. I’ve trained myself to turn something that’s more or less “normal” into something that stands out because it begs questioning. An example illustrating what I mean now follows:

First glance tells us that the aging man above is… well, simply aging. He minds his own business, unaffected by the fact that I am watching him. But is he really unaffected by my observance? Could his actions be, to a certain degree, influenced by my action, namely, watching him? Oh but wait, what is he doing? Is he smoking? What is that, tobacco? Is he even smoking? Maybe he’s simply checking what paper tastes like. But regardless of what he’s doing, why is he doing so? Was he doing that when I were not looking at him? Could it be that my remote surveillance has an effect on his behaviour, such that it is never truly possible for me to know or see what he’s doing at a given instant, because looking at him would change that. Nab’s Uncertainty Principle.

So besides that, I also occupy myself by silently criticizing commercial advertisements that plague my journey. One I’ve noticed today is LifeStyles condoms. “They come in 12 different styles that will keep you in style.” I’d love to meet the imbecile who decided in favour of publicly advertising condoms. So what are we going to see next? Sex toys? How about pistols and weaponry that come in 12 styles? “12 different styles to kill yourself and your neighbour.” I don’t like this, stop it.

Next I have those people that talk to me for reasons beyond my understanding. I had the misfortunate chance to sit next to a man, who I’ll name Teddy, that works for an internet firm (I could tell by his badge and company shirt), who tried to act like an average-commuter-who-engages-in-small-talk. This is my encounter:

Nab: Enters subway train, sits in the nearest available seat, placing his bag between his legs for maximum security.
Teddy: Looks towards Nab, begging for an eye contact.
Nab: Feels intruded because a middle aged bold man is staring at him. Glances towards Teddy, makes a mistake!
Teddy: Smiles inefficiently. Had a good Thanksgiving?
Nab: Unimpressed. Yes, thanks. Shifts back to critical thinking mode.
Teddy: Seeks another approach. Looks at Nab's bag, moved by the “Stop War!" badge. Are you against the war?
Nab: Yes, I’m against the war. Thinks: What’s this guy’s problem now?
Teddy: Oh that’s good. But you’re only –
Nab: Interupts. What do you sell?
Teddy: Oh you want to buy something?
Nab: Definitely not. Thinks: But I definitely have something you should buy. Please go buy the LifeStyles condoms, the world doesn’t need your genes in the pool.
Teddy: Pauses. I’m from –
Nab: Good to know, my stop is here. Walks away, points at the LifeStyles ad. Consider that.
Nab 1-0 Teddy.

My next installment will feature the Missionary Who Almost Cried.

Fine, fine, I understand your comments about the old man. It's a little too existential for me, to the point of not making sense, but at least you're reading into things like that. It's interesting because I like to analyze simple life moments as well, which is what you're doing.

But... the condom commercials? They are promoting safe-sex. That is the purpose for them. Many of them have funding from government sectors and community organizations in order to get the point across. Yes, it is an advertisement and marketing ploy by the business's themselves, but alot of it has to do with healthcare.

And more importantly, who are you to look down your nose at someone who is trying to be polite and a contributing member of society? You snub and mawk someone because they try to be friendly and outgoing? Would you rather have everyone be like you? No one looks at one another? Everyone minds their own business all together? If you were just joking around, then sorry, ignore this. But if you were serious, you've got to learn how to deal with people. Who cares if he was a middle aged bald man, he's polite, and friendly, and you looking down your nose at him says so much about you.
Oh, I'd forgive you for judging me because I assume you haven't read my first blog at Synonyms which explicitly states that my words should not be taken literally. So my encounter with the bold man can be seen as a little extreme view. Also, the point I was trying to get across is that the middle-aged-bold-man is not really interested in talking to me at all. Heck, I wonder if he's interested in people at all. The purpose of his initiation of a conversation was to sell me something. So, knowing that he is not really interested in my view of the war, or my thanksgiving dinner, have no interest in having him talk to me. But I did, to some extent, appreciate his outgoingness. The score still remains at 1-0 in my favour because he failed to even propose his merchandise.
Gotta love Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle
"I’d love to meet the imbecile who decided in favour of publicly advertising condoms. So what are we going to see next? Sex toys? How about pistols and weaponry that come in 12 styles? “12 different styles to kill yourself and your neighbour.” I don’t like this, stop it."

Since when is sex categorized in the same category as pistols and weaponary? Just because there weren't any lifeguards in your gene pool doesn't mean you should hate on others trying to use birth control. Only jesus freaks and ignorant close minded old school people think sex is evil. Its a way of life, deal with it.
Peddada. You’re missing the point, due to my insufficient clarity. I hope you enjoyed the moment of my imperfection. I am not advocating the practice of sex, nor am I advocating safe sex. The point I am to raise is that 10 years ago, we wouldn’t see a condom advertised in public. Likewise, today, we would not see sex toys advertised publicly (though I’ve been told that they are advertised in newspapers now). So in a half-century or so, we might even see weapons being advertised. Also, as to placing sex and weapons in the same category, that was not my intention – I just shifted from one extreme to the other on the spectrum of “urban life” in order to present an example. Misunderstandings aside, I do support birth control. I’d shower you with Trojans before you shower me with more “sex is evil” blasphemy.
i share your thoughts on commuting and only that it is a drag. As for the condom commercials, I find them to be quite entertaining. It just boggles me that they don't read the fine print at the end where it says that this shit doesn't work all the time and the time where it won't work is really hard to tell. That said, why not just stick with birth control pills and enjoy sex like its supposed to be. I mean George never used condoms, he always expected Susan to use a diaphragm. If someone like George, a middle aged bald man, does not use condoms, no one should have to use them. Down with condoms!!
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