Additional Verts Only Create Extra Verts

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By Mike Johnson

I sat alone in the food court.
It was the perfect observation blind.

I was self-contained inside, yet the orange chicken and fried rice camouflaged me as one of them.
I mentally donned my lab coat.
Might as well add enjoyment to lunch by studying people.

I was seated at the northwest corner, right along the aisle, mall exit doors 50 feet behind me.
The herd flowed right by, never noticing this introvert, six feet away.

A harried mom, infant on hip, struggled with her Hickory Farms bag straining its string handles.
Two teenage boys acted goofy, trying to impress a tween woman-cub, too young to realize the power of her wiles.
A divorced dad sat nearby, using his Saturday visitation to buy kids’ love with mall food.

In the distance, Santa’s lonely elf stood ready to greet families who wanted to meet the big guy.
Noon on Saturday, yet no line.
Like outdoor-play and in-person conversation, have kids abandoned Santa for Amazon?

I sat across from the Tippy Cow, a cute diner that recently opened this mall location.
The costumed Tippy Cow mascot was schMOOzing with random kids but giving more attention to their attractive moms.
He too had discovered a perfect observation blind. A step ahead of me, he’d found a way to make it pay.
Once you lose your dignity, the rest is easy.

My hackles raised as four obese, disheveled oddballs shuffled my way.
You might call it judgment; I call it situational awareness.
I wished them no harm but was alert if they thought differently.

They passed, then stopped confused, and turned back.

A foot away, they paused in the aisle to discuss their navagation problem.
Oblivious, they’d trespassed deeply into my personal space.
I could see the grime on their clothes.
I could hear their mumbled words, exposing lethargic minds.
I could smell them.

My camouflage was too good.
I was too close.
I was invisible.
So I froze like a rabbit.

Thirty seconds later, they moved away.


So that’s what it’s like.
How can people live so packed into the herd?

Lunch over.
Observations made.
Key learning accidently tested and verified.

The best life for me is the inner life, away from the things of man.
It's fine to visit now and then, but no way will I ever join their herd.

To this introvert, any additional verts only create extra verts.



Away From the Things of Man

Solitude Makes You Smarter

The Study Carrel

How Many Ways Are You Insane?


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