From Belvedere to Bethlehem

If there's one thing that became clearer to me when I last visited the Hit FM studios, it's the fact that, if you're lucky enough, or in the right position to be so, you will know someone who lives in Merville. Kelly put it differently, actually - "everybody lives in Merville," she said. For one, she lives there, much to my surprise - I thought only my uncle lives there. In the past two years I found out that Mon does, and Toni does, and probably Y2K does, and probably Veia does, and probably Sir Mariano does, too!

The world shrinks when you find something in common with the people you encounter with. Suddenly the distance you initially encounter shrinks to nothing once you know where to go and what to do with it. Groups are formed, cliques are formed, stereotypes are formed - all because of that one thing in common. Wonder no more as to why I'm stereotyped as, well, such.

You can call Merville a small community, even if it really takes long to get yourself around. I once walked from the second gate to my uncle's residence - from one side of the subdivision to the other. Despite that, though, you'd never know who knows who - my uncle knows my thesis adviser, and my cousins know my closest friend who's into psychology. Much like most communities, hopefully, people find something that would eventually, ideally, foster cooperation and closeness among them. I think it's because of that something in common - in the case of a village, as the cool folks put it, it's either the address, the gross income, or something else.

But I don't really have to look further for an example than my beloved batch itself. For the past three years, chances are, I know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows me. Although there wouldn't really be much of a surprise when you realize it, since we're all just seven hundred people in the batch, and we've probably seen everyone unless we've decided to live under a rock.

Humanly speaking, it's easy to form bonds. I shouldn't be denying it - I've found people that, miraculously, have something in common with me. I might be too demanding, but yes, there are people out there that hopefully nobody has snatched away from you. I don't really have a group like most regular - I almost said normal - college students. It would have been fun though - you'd have guaranteed conversations, connections after college, and you won't have to battle for a partner in anything. Most of the time they will just come to you.

Blame me, but I also think the world is looking for some sense of exclusivity. We want something that we can call ours - thus the news always has an exclusive on a rescue attempt or a caught snake. That bond that people share? It becomes exclusive, too. In the worst case, groups become so caught up in their common factors that the criteria becomes too strict, or you just can't relate to the point that they laugh at you. I think that's a downside to human nature - we just couldn't let anybody in, and even worse, we just want to be one with someone, in some way, and to get that we would break anything down. Or otherwise. Whatever.

It's basically being cool, or being uncool. Friendster was so five minutes ago, some would say. MySpace didn't really catch on here, but now almost everybody's on Facebook. People are convincing me - or I've asked them to do so - but my primary argument is this: I don't really have to, and my dad's on it too, which is freakier. It goes around that way - everybody finds a new bond, and when it becomes too saturated it breaks, and people will find a new one. Vicious cycle, and people are bound to get left behind.

Eventually I wonder why we fuss over this. Already I got lost just by trying to explain to myself why these things make the world go round. Is it my desperation to still find a group, just to appease my fragile (and bruised, maybe) ego? Or is it just my teenage tendencies - if I still have them, or ever had them - raging in me to belong? Exclusivity already brings trouble - if you lose it you might lose your way - but the opposite has its faults, too. And if I left the studios with my mind playing on farfetched possibilities, then this must be a twisted, crazy world.

But my world is getting smaller, so I can't stop myself from observing things. Oh, the idiosyncrasy. That walk from Belvedere to Bethlehem is a long one, indeed.

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