You know the feeling you get when you get caught looking at some girl’s tits, right? Or, even better, the feeling you get when you’ve been watching a child run around, looking cute, then you glance over at the parent only to see her glaring at you, YOU CHILD MOLESTER, YOU? Or how about when you’ve simply been gazing off into space, attentionless, more dead than alive, until the unorganized photons that have been hitting your eyes suddenly resolve themselves into—that guy’s crotch! Which you’ve been apparently staring at for the last 30 seconds!
Lack of attention can get you into a lot of trouble. What’s more, the embarrassment that comes from not paying attention can be enormous. Monumental. And it’s not like you can pay attention all the time! That’s only for gods and autistics to do!
Or how about this one: you’re in a gym all alone, pedaling on the exercise bike. You’ve been alone for half an hour now. The gym is no longer a public space; it has gradually, without your really being aware of the transition, become private, a place where you can do private things. Like your bedroom or your shower.
So you’ve started singing along to your headphone music. Why not, right? It’s your shower. Yeah, baby! Oh, that song? I LOVE that song! “C-yat Scra-yatch Fee Ver!”
This is where somebody walks into your shower. Of course they do. And you notice it, but it’s too late, and now you’re that guy, the one they caught singing Cat Scratch Fever to himself all alone in the apartment complex gym. “Heh; that’s some funny shit right there! He was just singin his little heart out!”
So what do you do? What CAN you do? Can you become the guy who, fuck it, just belts out songs wherever he is, doesn’t matter who’s listening? Can you just…. keep singing?
No. No! That is one weird dude. No way to pull that one off for more than a few seconds. Don’t become that dude!
But during the time you’ve contemplated that leap—wow, it sure would be something to be that guy!–, you’ve continued singing, albeit at a significantly reduced volume. And you realize with a jolt you’ve turned into that guy, the one who keeps singing in an obvious and half-hearted effort to not be the guy who was caught singing with abandon because he thought he was alone, so you toodle to a stop and concentrate on pedaling that gol-durn bicycle for a few seconds, and keep radar-like track of the person who came in via your peripheral vision. Only realizing a few moments later, with a stab of horror BAM! you’ve become that guy, the one who, because of a clowns’ parade of similar circumstances over the years, has a more finely-developed sense of his peripheral vision than a fish has for swimming. Argh! THAT GUY! With a periphery gyrus in his brain that could snap a bat’s echo-location gyrus in half with one swipe of its mighty paw!
So you pull out a gun and shoot yourself and bury the body deep in an abandoned wheatgerm mine on the outskirts of town.