the roads down which your life will drive

All through the post-grad education building there are printed out A4 signs on the wall asking people to speak softly because it’s a learning area or someone is working or some similar rot. Today however, during one of my oh-so-stimulating ICT lectures I noticed that (aside from that the lecturer had worn the same Hawaiian shirt two weeks in a row, I am hypothesising that it may be his Tuesday shirt) there was a particular sign that took my notice:


Speak Softly


Please speak softly in this area as Phys Ed majors are trying to read the graffiti, and some of those words are really long.

At first I just smiled to myself. Then someone likened it to the pseudo-elitism pent up against the Surf Science students from when we were studying at ECU in Bunbury. Strangely enough, you could be forgiven for mistaking one for the other if their dress, volume and mannerisms are anything to go by (however as far as I know, no Phys Ed majors have fallen through the roof of computer labs when playing ‘hide and seek’).

So why is it that I seem to have no hesitation in clumping them into the same cliches… granted that they don’t make it any harder by cliquing together like… well.. something that clumps together a lot… mercury, no, that’s a crappy example… oh, sod it. You know what I mean. Still, what’s with this strange immediate grouping of them into these buckets in my mind that I seem to have such immediate disdain for? And it strikes me that so many that I’ve spoken to just seem so similar. Why is that? Am I just not noticing the differences because they’re outside my field of specialty? Are they just being boring toward me because I’m just so devastatingly handsome that they couldn’t stand it if I were to stand next to them more often? Or maybe it’s the same peer-driven character-bleaching that seems to happen in groups of teenagers…

I think maybe I would think more of people if they weren’t so afraid of showing a little character. So many people seem completely terrified of revealing any personal information about themselves or volunteering any real thoughts of their own for fear it will be incriminating and be held against them by all of their similarly outwardly-plain cohorts (of course there are completely contrasting examples of obnoxiously loud people who bounce off walls and break things in order to sustain themselves with the attention of others, regardless of its nature). But what can you do, beat it out of them?

But maybe I’m completely wrong. Maybe it’s unreasonable to expect every person to be distinguishable from the next, or to expect them to openly share parts of themselves with other people. Maybe it’s just a world of quiet intellectuals and I’m a complete thug for just reading what people give off on the surface or are willing to volunteer to strangers, and I’m even more the devil for thinking that there’s not so much more to them than that.

But that’s polarising things a bit too much, it would be completely remiss of me to paint so many people with the same brush. I simply wonder, if such brilliance exists somewhere in these people beneath the dull veneer of chain-store catalogue existence, why do they hide it with such consistence?

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