Sunday, September 14, 2008

On the city man superiority complex

Many a time I find myself looking down on people that are not born and raised in a city. Provincial people that come in the capital to find their fortune are always different and, even if most of the time they are nice, hard working and intelligent, the feeling is there. I try to muffle it down immediately, of course, I am not proud of it, but I've never found a proper explanation for the phenomenon. Not until now, that is.

I believe that people from smaller communities (be it a small town or a small group of people with the same interest - see? I am a provincial too, in some respects) can dream a lot easier. They can compare themselves with their peers and find that they are good at what they do, or that they are original and refreshing. The city folks or the people in large groups, find it harder to be exceptional. Events are not singular, they are many, they become statistics. People are no longer resembling a person they know, but rather an archetype that their brain has compiled from so many similar people. One doesn't think back at their own experiences to solve problems, they Google it.

Back to my feelings of false superiority. It is easy for me to label any person, after meeting so many people. The root of my feelings comes from the fact that those people don't understand how I know things about them or the reason I label them. Most of them don't even realise it, when they spew the same thing other people of their category had, that I've heard it all before, that maybe I've even met some of the people in their genetic neighbourhood so I know not only the upbringing from which they came, but also what they are likely to do. And they usually see my reaction as arrogance and become hostile, just as I could interpret their proud banality as annoying.

I come from Bucharest. It is a capital city, but a small one. A New Yorker, for example, would see me as a provincial fool. Maybe that's why I feel so sick when I see movies like Sex and the City where the rituals there feel more foul than the rites of cannibal savages. But it makes sense. You need a 300$ pillow and a 15000$ hand bag if you want to stand out in a crowd that big. Of course you need to hysterically shout out your feelings (after careful considerating if those feelings are appropriate or not, socially). Everything is directed because everyone has seen it all before!

For me, a society of socially omniscient (and omni-demanding) beings is hell. Mostly because I care not for social etiquette. Etiquette is French for label, by the way. Or maybe, because I know it is a game I can never win, I choose not to play, labeling myself as a tech, a solver and a fixer, not a socially astute decision maker. But how much can I last in this artificial provinciality when the big international firms are flooding the city, coming with more and more absurd demands, like dress codes or (more horrible) mandatory code comments? And, compared with all these young kids, full of energy and knowledge, I may not be such a good a tech anyway.

Did I finally understand why I felt so foolishly superior because I am slowly becoming on of "them"? A provincial? A boring, banal, average person?