*Disclaimer* This is meant to be satirical. The following opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the writer. You may proceed.
In the land of Angst, the people are governed by rules far different from our own. During the day, they are divided into rooms with further internal divisions based on physical appearance and personal contacts. Not obeying the buzzers results in serious punishment. This is very similar to our very own factories, except the buzzers control machines and not—although some may question their humanity—actual humans.
The transportation system is a very odd one. Completely disorganized, any rules of the road are disregarded. I shudder to think how many accidents would occur if our own road ways were run in such a way. I desired to speak with one of these people and so naturally I attempted to make eye contact and initiate a discussion. Every pair of eyes would flit over mine in an effort to avoid eye contact. The muddied floor, yellowing ceiling tiles, worn-out shoes, trash: everything and anything seemed to be more appealing to look at than my eyes. As I wondered at how I could be that repulsive, my drive to communicate with these beings grew even stronger. Finally, I grabbed one by the arm and inquired as to why no one would make eye contact with me.
“It’s like an unspoken rule. If you make eye contact, it becomes an Awkward Moment.” This seemed like a feather light excuse to me but when I made similar inquires of others I received the same response. All efforts must be put into avoiding the Awkward Moment. What that was exactly, I wasn’t sure. No one seemed capable of explaining it. It seemed to be very undesirable and extremely contagious. The best I could figure was that it was some sort of horrific disease like the small pox and that making eye contact only spread the virus of the Awkward Moment.
Another disease was upon these poor afflicted people. They were all ridden with a strong case of aloneaphobia. The effects of it were everywhere. Everyone traveled in pairs. The compulsive need to be surrounded by people is one of the indicators of aloneaphobia. I had seen it before in the very weak and insecure of the nation but never before in such a large quantity and concentration. Occasionally, you would see a person traveling down the passageways alone, yet still suffering from the disease. Their eyes skitted from wall to wall, desperately searching for a comrade, desperate to be released from the state of being alone. There must be something very powerful and deep within their thoughts that they are afraid that if they are alone they might discover who they really are. Perhaps they are some sort of monsters in disguise, and this is why they must be with others: they need to presence of others to effectively feign their own normalcy.
I wondered as to why they did not leave. There must be something that keeps them within the building that was suffocating them. As I searched for the reason, I found a sign attached with sticky tack on a cold cinder block wall. Wads of gum decorated the majority of the surface. But what I could make out underneath the layer of gum, dirt, and fingerprints was this:
Our Mission is to ensure learning while challenging all individuals to exceed their own expectations.
Exactly whose mission was this? This certainly wasn’t a reflection of the majority of students whom I had overheard cursing the place. Their expectations seemed only to be survival. Survival of the diseases that threaten to kill their identity, survival of the restraints that threaten to limit their imaginations. Anyone exceeding those minimalistic expectations was not looked upon with favor. Instead, the rare instance where an inhabitant attempted to actually learn was often ridiculed by the others. Their own inability to break beyond mere survival had warped their thinking. They couldn’t see another way other than their own. When a foreign substance is introduced in one’s body, the red blood sells and good bacteria are up in arms to defend. When the foreign idea of going beyond mediocrity arose, the carrier of that idea was attacked in the same way.
I remained in the Land of Angst for as long as I could bear. But slowly, I could feel more own senses beginning to deaden, the first hints of apathy begin to creep into my soul. So I fled that place and bid farewell to the inhabitants of the land, with my sincerest hopes that one day they too will break free.