We went out last night to a trendy wine and tapas bar. Being a trendy wine and tapas bar there were many “hipsters” around. As I the evening progressed, I noticed something.
They all seemed uncomfortable.
Not uncomfortable as if their clothes were itchy or they didn’t like the way their seat felt, they looked awkward, nervous, finicky, glancing around, avoiding eye contact – uncomfortable.
Man and woman over there on the patio, deeply involved with whatever they needed to study on their MacBooks. Faces down, fingers hunting, glowing faces protected behind the aluminum shield with the apple shaped logo.
Younger couple at the table in front of us, initially excited about the band, now cramming their faces into their smartphones, not even reacting to the band struggling to tell jokes.
People standing in line at the bar, not acknowledging when the bartender asks what they want, struggling to make a decision, muffled conversations about previous bad food choices, no smiles, no “Excuse me,” just shuffling feet guided by eyes on the floor.
Every one of those people are liberal. I know they are. I heard the conversations about the vegan burger patties and working for non-profits.
And I realized something.
These people are not comfortable with who they are. Their identity is incredibly fragile. That’s why they cannot associate or accept anyone who opposes their worldview, they are afraid it would shatter theirs. In order for them to maintain their identity, they must surround themselves only with others who share their beliefs.
Being in a public place where they might be exposed to alternative viewpoints is horrifying. That’s why they flit from the door to the bar to the table. Entirely engaged with their group, no outward eye contact, no confident greeting of the stranger behind them in line.
Only once an unknown is defined as “friendly” will they engage in conversation. I was surprised by how pronounced this characteristic was.
What a shame to be uncomfortable in your own skin.