I want to describe to the world what it is like for me to walk down the street or have a walk through a city centre. People are generally emotional creatures. We feel the feelings of those around us, but what happens when this is a very heightened sense. What happens when this is mixed with tiny details that most people don’t see? I hope to describe to you some of the positives and some of the negatives.
First let me describe what it is like for me to have a one on one interaction. For this, let us think of an average phone call. Think of the last phone call you had and think of the very first thing that’s said. Usually this is “Hi”, “hello”, “hey”, and several other greetings. Now I’m going to use the word “hi” for this example. If you phone somewhere official and they say hi, it could be taken in so many ways depending upon their tone of voice. If their voice ends in a lower pitch than it began then you will take it in a negative way. A lot of people would say this sounds unofficial and not very good for a business. If the voice is of a higher pitch and the person saying hi is smiling when they say it, you are more likely to take it in a positive way and the unofficial or unprofessional look on it is no longer taken. Now if you phone a friend and they say hi, well this all depends on how they normally answer the phone as well as how close you are, if they are expecting you to call etc. My point is something so simple as the word “hi” on a phone call can be took in so many ways. Now I have covered a part of just how in depth you can look at something so simple, let me continue with walking down the street.
When I’m walking down the street, I’m listening for the sound of cars, where they are coming from, how fast, what direction their going in, does it sound like they are driving safe, should I be concerned about the car. I also listen out for people, where they are, how far away are they, are they coming towards me or going away from me, what does their mood seem like, dependent upon their mood depends on some other things I may think about. So, with 5 cars and 3 people this is a little bit to think about and its just one sense.
Let’s talk about underfoot. When I am walking, I feel the ground under my feet, does it feel rough or smooth, depending on the weather will it be slippery, does it feel like an old or new path, if it is an old path how likely do I think it is that there may be cracks or other obstacles I need to be cautious of.
Now the visuals, I will try and think of a pretty quiet street. Leaves fall on the ground, but do you ever look at them and try to work out peoples walking directions as they have walked over them or how the wind must have been blowing when they blew off their branches. I think this in depth about so many aspects you can look at. Why does the pavement suddenly change types from a smooth flat surface to slabs? How old must the yellow or white lines on the road be depending upon there deuteriation. Can I figure out in which direction they went when painting the markings on the road.
On top of all the above there’s also the general overthinking. If there is someone walking down the street and they look in a bad mood, what will I do if they bump into me and start arguing. If I need to, is there any way I can get away from my current position to somewhere safe quickly. How far away is my destination, if I continue at my current speed will I get there in time or do I need to speed up. If I need to speed up how fast shall I need to go.
There is also what I like to refer to as the succubus effect. When walking past someone that looks agitated, moody, down etc, I start to feel the same, it makes me start to get anxious. I see how they are feeling, and it is like my mind tries to mimic them to understand what they may be going through. If I walk past people and they are happy, it can work in a similar way but not to the same degree.
Walking down the street for me can be a pretty tiring time and yet it is rather simple, my anxiety can go through the roof and when I get wherever I am going I can just feel emotionally drained. Now think about this type of overthinking in somewhere such as a pub with many people around in so many different moods. It is easy to understand why I feel the way I do sometimes. The examples I have given are in no way intended to cover everything in every circumstance. I haven’t even covered over thinking the quickest path or route through a crowd etc.
I think these traits, as frustrating and tiring as they may be at times, are part of the way my mind works and I will never apologise for that, nor shall I ever wish to change it. It has taken me a long time to accept that the way I think can be so different than a lot of people. All I wish to do now is explain to others how I think. Perhaps you shall now have a modicum of understanding for the thoughts of which I go through.