One thing I never want to be is like one of those super reactive guys. You know them. They are always looking around, jerking their head in all directions in order to look at other people, people in cars, buildings, dogs…they are in a constant state of nervous vigilance. They live externally. These types of guys are also super reactive drivers. Everywhere they drive they are always looking at other drivers, at pedestrians, looking, looking, looking. If they turn right in front of you, they will pause to check you out just because you’re there. They are the super reactive guys and they live outside themselves. They look foolish and weak, for being overly reactive is very weak and very foolish.
I see a lot of super reactive guys when I’m going to, or leaving, the train station, because the escalators run parallel and the other bank is just a few feet away. People are going up, you’re going down, or it’s the other way around. This arrangement is a strong distraction for the super reactive guy because he cannot take his eyes off the people going the other direction on the escalator. He constantly scopes them out. What is so fascinating about other people? If groups of super reactive guys are together, they are apt to check everything out and comment snidely and laugh and you can only wonder what they are talking about. Super reactive guys are pussies, sorry to be so blunt. A strong man lives in himself. His exterior is a shell that wards off the external elements and partitions him from the environment like an oil sheath would ward off the waterlogged mass of humanity.
I’ve worked for years on stabilizing my inner self, on strengthening that man who lives in me, inuring him to the outside world and hardening his shell. My goal is to live my life entirely inside my mind and go through an entire day without acknowledging anyone who doesn’t directly command my attention. It would be a day of not turning my head or raising my eyes. I am working hard at this. The past couple of days on the train I’ve felt incredibly alone, alienated, distanced, so it’s been quite easy, and in fact, pleasurable to disavow the conscious acknowledgement of those around me. I have worked hard to train myself to not turn my head for any reason and definitely not to look at people or look at entrances to see who is coming in. I don’t look out the window and I don’t look at pedestrians. I am attempting to retreat into this head of mine in order to avoid having to engage the bothersome world. Super reactive people are helpless because they live outside themselves. They are so far from home base. Me, I am fighting to stay at home base and never wade out to the open seas of humanity where I risk becoming dangerously wrapped in other’s existences. This is the thing about being anti-reactive, like me. There is a lack of control implicit in being so heavily invested in the activities of your environment.
There is a purity, a hermetic quality, to being anti-reactive. It’s like a “social fast.” You deprive yourself of human interaction as long as possible. It’s a cleansing experience. If only it wasn’t for work. Maybe I’ll take a vacation day so I can practice my anti-reactivity for a full day without disruption or obligation.