I try as best I can to reply to as many of the responses to this blog. I appreciate the time and attention people offer in reading and responding. It means something to me because most of the time I think I’m sending a load of crap out into the ether. So just a short while ago I was emailing a reply, got a little curious, wanted to know to whom and where I might be sending my response. Several times I’ve been surprised by the variety of readers and their home countries. I think it’s basically an ego thing for me. I recognize that. I admit it. I’m not proud of it. I’m just sayin’.
Anyway, a short while ago I was intrigued by one of the responses I received. Couldn’t tell if I was being insulted or complimented. It was enigmatic zen-like statement. Could go either way. Maybe something got lost in translation, I thought. So I checked out who sent the response. Definitely not a typical name. It seemed to be perhaps outside the United States? Something unfamiliar to my limited experience and indicative of unlimited ignorance. I was curious. Investigated further, clicked on the address attached to the name….and wound up at a completely inappropriate website. I can’t describe it, the website, because I immediately sought to click on the white “X” in the red box to the top-right corner of my computer screen. All I thought was, “You idiot! You fu$%#ing idiot!”
I imagined some Trojan virus (how fitting) or worm (I’m not gonna go near that one) or whatnot infecting my computer and the havoc that would be wreaked upon my life.
And then, just as quickly, something else began to happen. The sweat along my brow. The adrenaline rush through the body. Forgive the Coldplay reference, but a sudden rush of blood to the head. Embarrassment. Shame. This really deep-seated shame. I could feel my skin turning rapidly from pink to red.
I was alone at work at my desk. I didn’t do anything, I didn’t see anything. (Okay, there were blue and white design elements, the screen bore no signs of any thing recognizably English in language, and there were certainly specific bodily forms that one didn’t need to investigate fully to achieve an understanding of what one was viewing.) But I immediately clicked off, I swear got out of there as fast as I could. But still I felt guilty. (Even now as I write this, time has passed yet there is still this residual sense of shame.) I felt like I had done something really suspect. All in an instant. In the click of a mouse.
Of course much of this may be anchored in my cultural upbringing, blah, blah, blah. The amazing thing to me, the stunning thing to me, the thing that is most remarkable is that there were no witnesses to what had just occurred. Just me. All my myself….But sitting beside me were my beliefs, my past experiences, my upbringing, and all the proverbial baggage that makes up the hardwiring of a life. It makes no sense that I should be embarrassed, guilty, ashamed for what occurred. My behavior was and is illogical, irrational, didn’t and doesn’t make any sense.
Or maybe it does. I guess that’s the value of evaluating behavior in retrospect. It’s not just time the causes the power of experience to dissipate. It’s time combined with analysis. We label, name, categorize, each and every experience, and at the moment we do that the experience moves from the visceral — the heart, the gut, the body — to the head. So even though my behavior, my experience of that simple click of a mouse, could easily be fully explained and understood, I don’t wanna. Leave it alone and let it be.
Let it. Be. Havior.