Strange Realization While Riding the Blue Line

Something of the pessimist in me always assumes the worst from people. My writing doesn’t reflect this (I’ve looked over my poems, and I feel that many of them look to the positive qualities of others). But still, I walk around as though I expect people to be on their worst behavior. As I was on the Blue Line, I kept eyeing everyone, being suspicious and paranoid and negative.

And then I began to realize this: people are usually on their best behavior in public. Usually. I mean, if someone’s an asshole, it’s rare that they’re going to bust right out and make that assholishness apparent? Sure, it happens every once in a while – a rude customer, a rude server, it happens. But it’s not the norm. Typically, people are fairly well behaved when in public because they’re there and can be held accountable.

On Were Here, we’ve had a spammer lately who’s been trying to get people to visit his site. He’s taken active steps to create multiple accounts, and posts thread after repeated thread advertising his site. He had been asked nicely to not post, but continues to do so. As far as online personas go, people seem to have more opportunity to be at their worst because they are not present and therefore are not accountable.

And on thinking this, I thought of all the wonderful people I’ve met online. The ones that I talk to through IM programs, the ones that I talk to/with on the forum. How smart they are, how talented. How polite. How insightful. How pointed and direct. How honest. How passionate and how funny. For as jerky as people can be online, I realized that I was incredibly lucky to have met the people I’ve met.

Just never really thought of it in that way before.

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