Mind Reading

February 26, 2018

I wish I could selectively read people’s minds. Not all the time, because I enjoy going outside in a winter coat made of yarn that resembles a gorilla without having to hear the disparaging internal monologues of my fellow pedestrians. But if it was a power you could turn on and off? Amazing.


I’m at my desk and like anyone who’s trying to write, I’m staring out my window. Outside are four men. They’re average in every sense of the word. All are about 5’8, a little extra weight on them but nothing horrible, wearing variations of jeans, khakis, and cargo shorts. Sensible shoes. Two are wearing newsboy caps, which seems like a disproportionate number. And they’re clearly there after a business something or other. Maybe apartment showing? One of them has an armload of manila envelopes, which isn’t something you normally bring to a social gathering unless you’re very fond of visual aids. They’ve been standing in this cluster for the last twenty minutes, talking and laughing and alternately shaking hands in goodbye and then getting pulled back into another conversation. TWENTY. MINUTES. Welcome to Hell, population: these dudes.


Now my question is this: who in that group is miserable? If more than one, how many?  According to Psychology Today, researchers estimate that extroverts make up 50-to-74% of the population. (Thanks, Google!) So in a group of four, at least one is miserable. Maybe two. Maybe all four, if today is Crazy Odds Day.


So as I sit here watching this incredibly boring interaction, I wish I could hear their thoughts, specifically the miserable dude’s. The one who’s talented enough to rock a sincere smile while repeating “kill me kill me kill me” to himself, or “Yes, I think we’re going…….. he’s taking a step back…ooh, that one’s gonna shake hands……..DAMMIT they both realized they have bichon frises in common. There goes another five minutes” or “Can I say I have another appointment? I told them earlier I had a free afternoon; I wish I’d never said that. DAMMIT, Carl, you KNOW you’re supposed to keep your schedule specifics to yourself.”


They all finally left. Shook hands for the eleventh time and then went their separate ways. None of them looked particularly relieved, although I imagine they’re all professional enough to save that for a few blocks away. A nice little pantomime, wrapped up and gone from the stage.


I wonder what show is coming up next…

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© 2017 by Bethany Watson