The Social Scene
Fred Gielow
Posted here for: October 10, 2017.

The way back home.

The Social Scene

What am I doing here? All these people. Milling about. Talking to each other. Trying to sound important. Trying to sound interested. Trying to sound interesting. And I'm trying to look as though I'm enjoying myself. Why do I do this? Why do I put myself through this?

So many times before. Faceless people. They're everywhere. Here comes another one.

"Hi there! I'm so glad to see you!"

Why did I say that? I'm so phony. Just as phony as they are. Glad to see you! Ha! I don't care if I ever see you again. What do you mean to me? Nothing.

We lie to each other. Put on a big smile and try to sound sincere. Are we fooling anyone? Do these people really think I care? Do any of them care a whit about me?

Am I selfish? Should I care? How can I care? Their talk is so shallow. Mundane. It's just moving jaws. Sound comes out, but nothing for the brain. Nothing but emptiness. Like traffic noises. A jack hammer.

"Oh, no thanks. I tried one. They're delicious."

No, they aren't delicious! They're like every one of these things I've ever been to. Food, drink. Just oil to keep the mouths lubricated. Walk around chewing and swallowing. Some sort of reward for coming here. It's no reward. It's a price to pay. A fee. A tax. A price to be here and pretend to be having fun.

So, I'm here out of duty. I dragged myself here so I wouldn't offend. I took the time to get ready and come here. All this time I could be doing something interesting. Something useful. Something fun.

I didn't want to offend, but what about offending me? All this time. Wasted. I'll never get it back. Ever!

Could we all just stand up and say "enough." Everybody together. End the charade and let everybody go home. Give away all the food and drink. Just end it. Let us get back to our own thoughts. Admit it's a sham and let us go on with our lives.

The king with no clothes. Oh, I'm having a wonderful time. Thank you so much for inviting me. Everything is just wonderful!

What kind of society is it where everything I say is a lie? Everything said to me is a lie. It's a dance. A dance of deceit. A play where the audience is making believe as much as the actors on stage. What kind of life is that? It's a life of falsehood. It's a make-believe life. It's a false life. The opposite of a genuine life.

I don't want to live that life, but here I am. Living it. Here I am with a big grin. It's put on. It's not sincere. It's all for show. It's all a facade.

Where are those real moments? When life is real? Where what you are and what you say are not passed through all those filters? Where you can be you, not a made-up imposter? Where you have the freedom and bravery to be just plain you? Bare bones you? What-you-see-is-what-you-get you?

Or, is make-believe actually better? Are we all so imperfect and stained that our reality should be disguised? Are our personalities and mannerisms so obnoxious, they should be hidden at all cost? Are we so flawed, we must do anything to keep the flaws from the light of day?

We know ourselves. We know what we actually are. All the warts and blemishes. So the disguise we construct for ourselves must be an image of what we want others to think of us. But do we really want others to think we're false and superficial?

Too much of life is designed to deceive. The salesman. The politician. The scientist even, nowadays. Truth for them is often excluded from the conversation. Photos are retouched. Reality shows aren't real. News broadcasts make up things.

So, who's to believe a doctor, dentist, lawyer, or policeman? If the rest of society is corrupted, why aren't they? So, who's to believe anybody? That's the problem.

Is there a force in the human condition that craves the real thing? There must be. Yet, it is not strong enough to keep us from distortion. We disrespect dishonor, yet we practice it. We prize sincerity, yet we cast it aside. What explains the hypocrisy?

It must be consequences, what happens when we transgress known boundaries. We're shown each day how rule-breaking will not be tolerated. The limits of correct behavior are sharp and narrow. Any deviation will be met with rebuke.

But where's the rule about truth and honesty? MIA. The rules are many and detailed, but the Ninth Commandment is conspicuous by its absence.

So, who are the social law makers who specify what's tolerable behavior? Who decides what's proper? What's improper? Who said I have to be here? Why did I feel I had to yield to that imperative?

It seems the lawmakers are whoever's in charge. Whoever has wide-spread authority, influence, clout. And there must be acceptance of the lawmakers' dictates. Everyone must stay in line. One step out is not tolerated.

What we say and how we act must abide by the dictates, each and every one. It's a long list. But truthfulness and honesty aren't on the list.

So I come here and pretend to be happy and having a good time. I smile a false smile. I speak a pleasantry, though contrary to how I feel. I stay, though I wish to leave.

I tolerate others and their falseness. I not only tolerate insincerity, I expect it, even demand it. Yet at the same time, I despise it.

And I go home and continue the charade. I'm not real. I'm not genuine. I'm not sincere. I lead a false life.

I long for truth, simple, pure truth. Honesty. Sincerity. Where can I find it?

I can't.

"Oh, thank you, but no. This is my last drink. I think I should be on my way soon."

"Yes, yes, I had a wonderful time. Thank you very much."

The conservation is all scripted. My lines are memorized. They're the same as everyone else's. Each gathering is new and fresh, but what's said is merely a repeat of last time. And the time before that.

Oh, for something real. Not papered over or painted. Oh, for something honest and true.

Well, come to think of it, I guess there are still some things that are real. Some honest-to-goodness true-life experiences. Driving in traffic. Shopping at the grocery store. Taking a shower. Having a heart attack.

"What's that?"

"Oh, and you'll be hosting it?"

"In two weeks?"

"I'd love to attend. I'll look forward to it! That'll be a real treat. Thank you very much!"