In high school, I learned the language of Cool. I never became fluent, because I was already studying French and learning another language at the same time would have been too hard, but I could always understand it when I heard it. And that’s the most important part of getting to know a language anyway, because that’s how you can tell if the native speakers are shit talking you to your face.
Cool is a language of calm. Its syntax is simple and its grammar is peppered with pauses and “well, I don’t know”s. If you want to speak it properly, you have to pay attention to your inflection. Getting too loud or excited is the number one way to tell the people around you that you’re a tourist. You have to keep your voice low and tempered to sound authentic.
If you didn’t get that silly, poorly thought-out metaphor, don’t worry. I wrote it and I don’t even get it. The point, though, is this: somehow apathy has entered our social dictionaries, listed as a synonym of cool. And I don’t understand why.
One of the most baffling things about going to college, for me, was realizing that everyone around me actually had interests. In high school, it seemed that people were viciously trying to suppress them, to the point where it was almost like no one actually did anything for four years. But, even now, when we’re supposedly free and independent, people seem to default back into that old “language of Cool.” They keep their voices down when talking about the new episode of Supergirl. They shrug instead of getting passionate about their major. They avoid people’s eyes when explaining the plot of the book they just read – which they really enjoyed and actually just spent all night reading fanfiction about, though they wouldn’t actually tell anyone that for some reason.
We need to start getting excited again. Outwardly. Being ashamed to talk about things you’re genuinely passionate about is a horrible, restrictive feeling, and takes away an important emotional output. Sometimes, expressing ourselves means being loud. Means info-dumping on our friends. Means having hot debates about the function of slow-mo scenes in movies (my opinion: they’re pointless— but that’s a post for another day). Means being joyful and angry and animated.
It is infinitely more fun to be enthusiastic about things. Let’s start admiring that trait in other people and trying to emulate it in ourselves.
featured photo credit: dMadPhoto Uno de los mayores placeres de la vida es ver reir a una persona. via photopin (license)