The writing project I'm working on now is largely about people, so I'm finding it easiest to work on at a crowded coffee shop, where there are plenty of specimens to observe, "in the wild", as it were.
-People order some fucked up weird coffee drinks. Not just with particular milk choices, but with tons of weird stuff in it.
-People are always weird about how they ask someone if a seat is taken.
-People almost always turn muffins upside down, and then pull pieces off from the bottom (i.e. the actual top).
-People look at each other all the time.
The last one is the most interesting. People are always looking at each other and sizing each other up. But this doesn't really cut it, description-wise. They are not just sizing each other up, but also judging each other, but also looking at each other like pieces of sexual meat, but also trying to avoid looking like they are looking at other people, but also looking at their clothes, or hair, or body type, but also looking at each other to see if they are looking at each other.
Of course, we know that people look at each other in these ways all the time, but the strange part is that they are doing it all at once, without really conforming to any of these stereotypes of Other-interactions.
And maybe I'm overly paranoid, and this is why I am projecting all these thoughts and motivations onto other people, or maybe I'm just over-analyzing it because I'm writing about it.
Anyway, it strikes me that any form of theorization about the Other needs to take the coffee-shop phenomenon of human interaction into account. That real dissociated interaction with the Other happens while doing other things, and while doing many things at once. How could you be judging someone's dress while simultaneously scanning them as a potential sexual partner? Not because they are same thing, but because you are doing both at once. Subjectification and objectification seem to happen simultaneously, as two component activities, rather than uniquely. Not even as opposite poles, but sort of a length X width of perspective, inherent in stereo vision. Caffeine is raising awareness, and our Otherness sensors are functioning on over drive. I mean, why would people spend so much effort trying to avoid watching each other, when they are all doing it, separately but equally?
It's time for another cup of coffee, to and to get back to what I'm actually writing.
Stop looking at me.
Predictions for 2012
5 years ago