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Being hypervigilant sounds like some kind of super-power. Instead of waiting to see how someone reacts to what you do or say, just study them hard before doing anything and then make your next move. This has the added advantage of giving you vital extra time to rein in any eccentric actions and to re-read your planned response.

Conversations or interactions can only be made better by hyper-vigilance. Watch, watch, watch deeper, watch better, work 'em out, make them squirm under your laser-like stare, make them feel like the surface of the sun is searing down on their upturned face, make them yours and yours alone for the moment it takes to work out what they are feeling.

Yes, and then? Shall I tell you? Then, after all that god-mode watching you have a good idea of how the other person is feeling and how they are reacting to whatever you have already said and done. But, well, what if you haven't done anything yet and you can see they are upset? Or what if their reaction is totally at odds with you and your part?

It's all very well studying your victim but what use is it if you know how they feel but have no idea why they feel it?

Suddenly you are left in the all too familiar territory of Confusion. You said this and they frowned but you don't know why they frowned because this was a good thing and also mild and kind of normal but there they are, frowning. You try again, building on the this with more goodness, mildness, more normalcy. Nope, it's worse, they're frowning more! What the heck?!

There's usually a point at which hyper-vigilance disintegrates, blowing away in the winds of Confusion and leaving you with the certainty that no matter what you try to do, it will end up wrong.

No, you can't let it end! Looking back at the frowning person you try once more, try again to bring in the good thisness you hoped for before. Right, yes, is that better? Staring, waiting, the mini-moments slipping by as you focus on the frown lines and that weird way people have of not being able to hold your gaze after all the times they told you off for avoiding eye contact.

The conversation ends, the frown is lifted long enough for the other to leave, making vague comments about having something to do. Your great subject of conversation, your perfect this lies completely ignored at your feet. Anger steps in.

'Why don't you want to talk about this?' you ask, harshly and hurt.

The other person turns, another frown replacing the first, this one just as familiar - disbelief.

'I wanted to tell you about my problem!' they spit out, exasperated.

You shrug helplessly - people! 'Why didn't you say then?'

'I tried!' they cry, waving their hands a bit like you do at the dry cleaners. 'I just couldn't get a word in edgeways once you started talking about this!'

They start to walk away, pausing only to call back, 'And anyway, you won't stop staring at me! It's off-putting!'

Yes, hyper-vigilance is amazing when it comes to working out if people are happy, sad, angry, cheesed off or want to smack someone. Unfortunately, hyper-vigilance is rubbish at telling you why someone feels any of these things and gives you little warning that the person they feel like smacking is you.

It's all very well to be able to study people so closely they could be the only other person left alive: it's quite another to expand that into a real-life, useful piece of information. All you are left with is the knowledge they are scowling and that the reason could either be you, someone else or a tummy-ache. Or none of the above. Or all of them. Or just because they are good at scowling.

Who knows? I can only keep on studying them and hope I find out someday, without having to be told. This is why my chosen super-power would always be mind-reading as that seems to be in the most demand. Either that or invisibility, then I could just  avoid Confusion and go for free ice cream(and the many other things we would all do for free if we were invisible).

Until then, I'll keep watching, and watching, and watching some more. It's all bound to make sense one of these days.


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