Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hot Tub

There was a 50 year old man on the train shrieking into his phone. I was wearing earplugs yet I could hear every word. "Amy's been emailing me about this real estate, and I don't like her tone, but she said to get George our contractor to take a look and he said that she said that they said . . . "

It was going on for about ten minutes. Then one brave soul said "Shhhhhhh!" As soon as the first "Sh" left his mouth, there were four others who chimed in, one even adding an "It's ridiculous!"

It happens often on the train; only when people are sure of backup will they loudly admonish the behavior around them.

There really is something to the "hot bathwater" mashal that we use for Amalek. Only when one cannonballs in, insisting that the water's fine, will others happily splash into the fray.

There are so many ways that this can take place, and I've fallen so often into that trap. Let's say I'm having a conversation with a group of people, and one person makes a snarky remark about another, and then I'll laugh and join in with another anecdote at their expense. I never liked it when it was done to me; yet there is always that validation that comes with others' support.  
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Qkfb4BRfRYg/Tl6dEEouqsI/AAAAAAAAASc/I-PR37-2Uwo/s1600/Scylla_1.jpg
I'm trying hard now not to get sucked into Charybdis.

7 comments:

Shades of Grey said...

I learned about this in intro-psych, it's part of the psychology of group mentality and people losing themselves when they are part of a larger group. The same concept, to an extreme is what drives people to do uncharacteristic things during a mob riot.

Also, forget Charybdis, watch out for the Sarlaac at the Great Pit of Carkoon! http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/82/OriginalCarkoonSkirmishSarlaac.jpg

Princess Lea said...

How remiss of me! Especially since it has tentacles that nearly sucked Lando in!

Am I losing my sci-fi touch?

Tovah said...

I was just going to say what Shades of Grey said. Something that we learn in psych 101 about mob mentality and we do things with others that we would never do alone.

Good for the guy that started the shhhhh though.

JerusalemStoned said...

I see it on blogs and message boards all the time--the first few voices agree/disagree, and then once one person make a remark to the contrary, all the also-rans join in. It's like they suddenly got permission...

Peoples be weird! We are deeply social creatures, I guess. Or maybe we just need the security of knowing that someone had our backs?

Princess Lea said...

Tovah: I was cheering the guy who was brave enough to shush, but I was annoyed at the people who chimed in. Don't piggy-back on someone else's glory.

JS: We are chickens nowadays. And this is from a self-proclaimed chicken.

Nechama said...

Like this post. Thanks. Like Jerusalem Stoned, I noticed that people are often afraid to comment if they would be the first. If it's a blog with lots of comments, fine. Otherwise? Next post...

Princess Lea said...

Bkaw!