The way I usually meet new people is that other people bring them along when they’re seeing me. It can be Ben, or Abbie, or Stephen, or Mark. Then I get to sit there and observe these new people and pass judgement on them.

Today I met with Ben down in the town, and we went to have a cuppa in one of the Costas. He had brought another student from University along, and I got to sit there and listen to them talk about things and people who I didn’t know about.

A few minutes into the overheard conversation I realised that what this bloke was doing was to dismiss everything. Everything and everyone was uninteresting. As if this bloke was on cruise control through life and allowed nothing to affect him.

After a while, this bloke got up and left, and I couldn’t help but imagine that we had been just as dismissed. Out of sight, out of mind, once we had fulfilled our role for the moment.

I asked Ben what he thought, and he said something that I think is true. Ben is a sharp one; very observant. “Some people just sleep-walk through life”. And that’s something that I’ve noticed before. People do.

Looked at from a certain angle, I can’t think of anything worse. Pain, suffering, etc. at least leaves you sharp and aware, and you even learn things about yourself. It’s not good, of course, and at some point maybe you will wish for it to end. But doing like this bloke this is just to embrace oblivion, make it his own, and head for the exit far before his time.

Those times when I think about death and suffering, I’m reasonably sure that I will claw and scratch and bite for just one more moment. At least I hope I will. At least that’s what I want to do, sitting here. But people like this guy, they’ll just shrug and say ‘Okay’ and dissolve. As if they were ghosts torn apart by a slight breeze, never to be seen again.

They’ll never know love, because they’ll never take the risk. They’ll never know pain, because they’ll shy away from it. They’ll never know success because they won’t put in the effort. They’ll never know failure, because they’ve never attempted anything which can fail. They’ll never be really alive, because they’ve never bothered living.

That’s a scary thing to think.

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