Minds and vans don’t go together

Sometimes, I surprise myself.

‘Surprise’ is such a positive word. Even though literally, there is no specifically positive connotation attached to it, yet, when used in the real world, it is seldom used for something negative. For expressing the same sentiment but talking of something that is not good, ‘shock’ is used. So what do I use when I want to say that I was just surprised in a neutral sense? I am at sea.

Anyway, to get back to the matter at hand. I surprised myself. Not to say that there were no negative connotations at all – but they came later. At the exact moment to which I am alluding, there was plain surprise. There we were, or wait… there I was. Can I say there ‘we’ were when three people were walking in front of me and I was intentionally walking a few steps behind, deep in poetic thought (Even bad poetry is poetry per se, so I have the right to say ‘deep in poetic thought’)? I don’t know. So as they were walking and I was walking behind, thinking, something happened. Now before I tell you what happened, it is necessary for you to understand that I was thinking of nothing sad. Or morbid. Or dark. Or bad. Nothing negative, at all. Period. In fact, it might even be called ‘romantic’, what I was thinking of. Not the sad-romantic, just to clear it up again. So to make it absolutely and completely clear, understand that my mind was as devoid of sad thoughts as a five-year-old’s is while playing in mud at four in the afternoon in new clothes when his mother is napping. Okay, so when everybody stopped and I managed to catch up with them, I continued my thinking. So we’re all standing there, and then my thought process goes blank. Not the absolute-blank of a white sheet of paper at the French exam when you have no idea what to write, but the blank of a sheet of chemistry equations for a non-science student. I had that far-off look in my eye, but for that brief moment – it could have been seconds, it could have been a minute – I had no idea what my mind was thinking. I was just not….there. And when I am in this stage of not-there-ness, I look left (because everybody looked right – and they were standing opposite me, and their right was my left – my not-there brain figured that out without even thinking actively – I might just have a higher IQ than I think!) because I find that if you mirror the body language of the people you are with when you are not actually mentally listening to them, it’s easy to escape notice. But remember, this only works in a group. I don’t want you holding me responsible because you were standing with your girlfriend and you kissed her best friend in an effort to imitate body language because your girlfriend kissed her too. So as I look to see where everybody is looking, there’s a small vehicle coming carrying stuff. A sort of a cargo-van. And as I see its headlights and process what it is (all in the matter of a nanosecond while still not being there – keep it up, Brain!) my first instinct is to step into the path of the van. And the instinct is so strong that I actually do it.

Yes, that’s the scary part. I know I started with surprising, but well what do you know. I am scared shitless. Not to say it wasn’t scary – don’t run away with the idea that you were tricked into reading this post just by using ‘surprise’ in the first line. Were you? Guess you’ll never know.

We then laughed it off and made jokes about it, and the fog in my head cleared. Yes! That’s the perfect phrase I’ve been looking for. It was like a fog in my head. Anyway, so we made jokes and all, and I made light of it and explained it by coming up with ‘I thought the van was heading the other way. How stupid of me!’ but then it wasn’t true at all. I was thoroughly surprised at myself. Five minutes later when we said bye and teary farewells, the fear came when I hugged him. He had no idea what’s going on obviously, but he figured something’s wrong. I just said no and smiled. He wasn’t convinced but he wasn’t worried either. Normal people don’t have non-urges to jump infront of a van without even knowing it, you see.

Which means I am still scared. And if I decide to tell someone this, I am going to sound like a lunatic. Not like everyone doesn’t think I already am, but well. A failure does not fail in an exam just because everybody thinks he will, does he?

And, psychiatrists and philosophers, spare me the discourse on the last line.

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