I understand hikikomori! maybe…

“Asociaal klotezak”, woman in queue

Today I came to understand why hikikomori seal themselves away from the world.
While in the supermarket I went to the checkout and seeing three checkouts with no queues I joined one.
As I joined it I noticed that another person was rushing to join the queue, as I was there first I assumed that the place was rightfully mine.
[Queue etiquette is pretty complicated, but as far as I know the person nearest the queue gets the next spot]
Then the woman in front of me in the queue called me an asocial asshole, and refused to answer me when I asked why.
[Surely, if someone does a social faux pas and they ask what they have done wrong you are obliged to answer them, otherwise they are doomed to repeat it?]

I think this was caused by the phenomenon I call “child mind perception”.
A child has no understanding of third person perspective.
If you have an image of a room and then show them a second image from a different perspective a child finds it difficult to associate with the first image, even though it is the same room just from a different perspective.
From the perspective of the woman, as the other shopper was going down the aisle towards the checkout and I was walking perpendicular to the aisle along the checkouts, she must believe that the other shopper has right of way.
Unfortunately for me I don’t have fucking x-ray vision!
How is a person supposed to handle this situation?
Was I in error to assume I had the right to the next place in the queue because I was closer, even though I was approaching it perpendicularly?

This is not the first time “child mind perception” has created awkward social situations for me.
One day while coming out of the same supermarket I encountered a woman on her mobile phone with a small dog.
The dog was not on a leash and was about 2 metres away from her.
The only way to get past them and across the nearby road was to go between them.
As I did so the dog panicked, ran between my legs yapping and yelping and tripped me up.
I narrowly avoided falling on my face.
The woman ended her phone conversation, looked at me angrily and said “Stupid! Don’t hurt my dog! You should look where you are going!”.
Too stunned to make any verbal reply I just showed her the finger and stormed off.

In all these situations I get l’esprit de l’escalier, I get ideas for verbal replies, sometimes witty, long after the event.

I believe it is because of negative social transactions like these that hikikomori seal themselves away from society.
They cause people to have lower self esteem and can quite obviously lead to depression. [Thinking that they are asocial assholes even when they have done nothing wrong]
And as they can happen every day the only way to avoid them is to not put yourself in a situation where they can occur.

But there are times which, in my opinion, make up for these kind of incidents. Situations that could cause negative social transactions can also create positive ones.
Yesterday is a good example.
I bumped into a person that I used to see on public transport on a daily basis, but two years ago.
It could easily been a negative social transaction. They could easily have ignored me completely, or not recognized me at all.
But, they did. They smiled and said hello, even though we never actually said too much while commuting.
This, bizarrely, happened two more times yesterday, although I have no clue who the third person was.
[But having a total stranger saying hello politely, rather than nastily, is a definitely positive social transaction]

By sealing themselves away hikikomori prevent themselves from experiencing these potentially rewarding social transactions.
By minimizing their risk of negativity they also minimize the positive.

2 thoughts on “I understand hikikomori! maybe…

  1. Seb says:

    fookin’ cloggies. Put ’em in the army, it’s the only language they understand. They dont like it up ’em.


  2. Sarapen says:

    But these are just the everyday things that happen in a community composed of mostly strangers. They happen pretty much to everyone, but not everyone becomes a shut-in. Not that I’m saying that becoming hikikomori is all because of the person’s individual flaws, but I think those who become such have already been sensitized to those kinds of encounters, feeling them more keenly than other people.


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