I fear that I am becoming one of “those people”. You’ve probably heard of “those people” before; they partake in a particular activity that for whatever reason you find a bit odd. Rather than attempt to understand why “those people” choose to behave the way they do, you shake your head and walk off, labeling the whole lot as “those people”.
I’ve been labeled as one of “those people” before. I am one of “those people” who choose to take their car in for an oil change rather than do it myself. I am also one of “those people” who doesn’t like their food to touch. My fear isn’t being labeled as one of “those people”; my fear is that I am joining a group that I had labeled myself.
This particular group of “those people” I have elected to join are “those people” who bring their laptops into coffee shops. Even though it is common practice now for coffee shops that sell 5 dollar lattes to also offer Wi-Fi to their laptop ladened masses, still I hesitated. I finally made the plunge one day after circling the parking lot, uncertain if “those people” would accept me. After getting my drink order I took up camp in the furthest corner booth and cracked open my laptop, keeping a wary eye on the crowd to see if anyone was giving me the head shake I had given “those people” on many occasions.
“Those people” should not under any circumstances be confused with “Them”. Becoming one of “those people” just means you have adopted an eccentric character trait. Becoming one of “Them” means you are now in league with all that is wrong with the world. Most people become one of “Them” when they enter college and start questioning the closely held family political or religious ideologies. In that regard, I’ve been one of “Them” for as long as I can remember. As a member of “Them” you can expect to be accused of being brainwashed or misguided for daring to hold views so different from your parents. You will not heed this accusation because obviously your parents have been brainwashed by a different group of “Them”.
And of course neither of these groups should be confused with the all knowing “THEY”, which stands for Trancendant Hawkers of Empirical Yarns. THEY have been around for ages giving unsolicited and untested advice about nutrition (THEY say an apple a day keeps the doctor away), neurology (THEY say humans only use ten percent of their brains), and nuclear holocaust (THEY say the only things that would survive a nuclear explosion are cockroaches). While some of the advice from THEY is factual, THEY have a tendency to delve into distributing conspiracy theories and myths. You’ve probably heard what THEY have said about the Kennedy assassination, the moon landing, and the dangers of flashing your lights at an approaching car without its headlights on at night. THEY also say you shouldn’t believe everything you hear, which I assume would include what THEY say.
As for becoming one of “those people”, I think I will eventually be at ease with the idea of the laptop in the coffeeshop. I still hide myself away in a corner booth, but I no longer circle the parking lot before heading in. Despite the excess caffeine, “those people”, now my people, are quite an easy going bunch and have accepted me into the fold. My membership card arrives next Tuesday.
I will say that on my most recent trip to the coffeeshop, I passed by a guy in line at the counter who was one of “those people” that I hope I never join. He was one of “those people” who talks loudly on a cellphone headset while standing in line. I couldn’t help but shake my head as I walked past him.
You know what THEY say about “those people”, don’t you?