Pressure Cooker

He walked into the middle of the city square, and there he stopped. The square was busy, it was early Saturday afternoon. He had chosen it specifically because the audience needed to be large. And so he began to shout.

Now shouting is one thing, but right at that moment, shouting turned to rambling. There seemed to be a point at the start of this spectacle, but now any logical thought or process to a genuine concern was rapidly diminishing. The people in the square were there for all sorts of reasons; meeting friends, catching up, some were working. There was an awkwardness in the air.

The ranting was subsiding, like a pressure cooker running out of steam. Those sat at the café looked at each other across the tables; “is he talking to you, or me?” they questioned. It seemed as though his tirade was directed at everyone passing or seated on that bustling Saturday afternoon. There wasn’t a visible response from the hundreds of people witnessing this strange behaviour. Finally one person that knew the man faintly, put up one thumb, but didn’t say a word. No challenge, no encouragement or advice. Just the thumb. Then another two people raised a thumb and held it for a while. The man continued to stand motionless for a while before walking to the edge of the square and out of view.Slowly people went back to the conversation they were having a few minutes earlier. Not clear on what all that meant they tried to forget about it, feeling awkward, unsure of whether they should have said something?

The account seems so odd that you’ve probably dismissed it already, but this does happen on a daily basis. I’ve witnessed it multiple times. People can be drawn to services like Facebook and seem to offload and rant, but to no one in particular. I’m constantly reminded that our ‘online’ behaviour and actions are no different to our offline presence. We are a single person on and offline, our persona should be also.

What do you think?

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