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Justin M. Stoddard


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I Am Vast…
January 12, 2010 — 7:25 pm

I often have counter-intuitive feelings when in large crowds. Rather than feeling boxed-in, it’s almost as if the space between me and the mass of humanity scrunched up against me is hyper-amplified. Though we all jostle for space, seeking out a vacuum to fit our bodily forms, brushing up against each other, sometimes brusquely, sometimes apologetically, those around me may as well be standing miles away; so disconnected I feel from them.

Some might call this a form of agoraphobia, but I’d disagree. I have absolutely no problem with public places, whether they be wide open or not. Neither do I feel claustrophobic or have any anxiety in crowds. It’s difficult to explain. I just feel, well…disjointed, somehow.

While up in Chicago this weekend attending the Camper Van Beethoven/Cracker concert, this feeling came over me very suddenly. For some reason, while standing in the crowd, I just could not figure out what to do with my hands. Do I put them in my pocket? Cross my arms in front of me? Raise them up in the air? Put them behind my back in the position of a modified Parade Rest?

It did not help that the extremely cute girl next to me was dancing lithely, without affectations. She even hip-checked me a few times with a sly, knowing smile. And there I stood, unable to figure out what to do with my hands. The space around me multiplied exponentially until, in a crowd of hundreds, I was alone. At one point, I became so flustered with the odd situation that I actually (God help me) put my hands up in the air and made the “devil horns” sign with my hands while yelling, “Woooooooooooooooooooooo!”.

When the concert was over, the cute girl next to me slid up, put her arm around my waist and half yelled in my ear, “Thanks for hanging out with me! I had a great time! I gotta go home, now!”

And then she was gone.

And I was left there. With my stupid hands. Which I happily put into my pockets, while walking towards the coat check room…smiling all the way.

— Justin M. StoddardComments (0)

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