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Messing with My Head

Last night I watched a show on Discovery Channel called “Head Games.”  It was pretty interesting.  It’s a series of social experiments meant to explore conformity.  Well, it’s not news that people get mad if someone cuts in line, but it’s interesting that they explain the connections that our brain makes to convince us to conform.  I’ve never thought of it in that way before, but as we evolved, conformity was a very real survival technique.  In today’s society, it isn’t as crucial for us to go along with the crowd, but we’re still built to do it, even when we don’t want to.  For most people, nonconformity takes work and courage.  After all, no one wants to be the freak weirdo.

Fast forward to my Monday plans.  I have three errands today.  I have to drop my kids off at karate for the day.  Yes, I am off work today and they were invited to stay home with me.  Rejected.  They want to go hang with their friends to play video games, ping-pong and build elaborate karate forts.  Okay, whatever.  I don’t like forts, anyway.  Also, I was in a spectacularly bad mood yesterday, so it’s hard to blame them for plotting their escape.  Second, I need to stop by the bank to get a wad of one dollar bills for the aforementioned haters to buy drinks at karate every day.  Ping pong is thirsty work.  Third, I need to drop my car off at the shop.  This is where things get interesting.

I first thought that I would call my mom and ask her to give me a ride home after I drop off the car.  This is, after all, what people do.  You drop off the car and get a ride home.  It’s not brain surgery.  But then I considered an alternative.  The shop isn’t far from home, maybe two miles, three at most.  I’ve been struggling to get more exercise in my routine.  Why not drop off the car, then jog home?  And by “jog home,” I mean, “jog until the shop is out of sight, then walk until I feel like I might not die today.”  What a fantastic plan, I am so clever!  But…but.  This is not what people do.  I’m going to look like a pathetic loser who can’t even get a ride home from the damn mechanic.  They’re going to pity the poor girl who has to walk everywhere because no one loves her.  Now, the question of the day is, why do I care?

I don’t know why I care.  On the surface, I would be quick to tell you that I don’t.  But clearly there is a part of me that’s concerned about appearing to be an unloved walking loser, otherwise I wouldn’t be struggling with this.  Also, I’ve already had my shower and put on makeup and put on decent bank-going clothes.  My plan is going to require me to go to the bank in running clothes, which are not cute on me.  I already feel like a giant slob when I go to the bank, even when I’m not wearing a ragged out, baggy t-shirt and pink sneakers.  Once more, why do I care about this?  I’m going for dollars, not for a freaking job application.

“Head Games” would suggest that my brain is making connections that are forcing me to want to join the pack so that I won’t slowly starve to death or get eaten by a wooly mammoth.  And that’s probably the case.  However, as a modern woman, I’m going to fight it today.  I’m going to go ahead and be a slob in the bank and a loser at the shop.  I’m going to do it because it’s a lot more important for me to get this exercise in for me, for my health than it is to go with the crowd and do what people do.  After all, the odds of me dying of a heart attack far outweigh the odds of getting eaten by a wooly mammoth on my run home.

At least, I sincerely hope so, cause Lord knows, I can’t outrun him.

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