Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Just curious. For the third time I had woken up to a whole day’s worth of page views before I had even put the kettle on for the first coffee. Yes, I know, that makes me a very sad person, the computer first… though that only comes after cuddles with Ani, of course. I don’t normally pore over the stats page, but I admit that, getting the little message that says ‘your stats are booming’ for the third time, and noting that average hourly views were up by over 1000%, I had to have a trawl. And was I any the wiser for that? Nope, not a whit.
Where was it all coming from? I had not attained that glittering chimera, the accolade of being Freshly Pressed… or if I had either WordPress were being inordinately quiet about it… or any notification had been cheerfully spammed. But then surely ‘referrers’ would show some kind of trail… No. Nothing there either beyond the usual suspects.
The only thing I could think of was that there had been a system delay and a whole load of old notifications had come through at once. I hadn’t published more than usual, nothing appeared to be getting any more attention than anything else. No huge numbers of reblogs… in fact, no unusual numbers anywhere except total page views. The only thing that was any different was the number of old posts that were getting views. Maybe that was it. But why?
It didn’t really matter and there was no way I was going to get to the bottom of it anyway. I had, however, from this unusual foray into the details of the stats page, learned other and potentially useful things. But, at this stage of the day, coffee was far more important. Coffee … and walking two mad dogs before an early start at work.
I was, therefore, a little pensive as I dressed. Which probably explains why I got several strange looks from other early morning dog walkers. Stranger than usual, I mean. I must have presented a rather odd appearance with my hair uncombed and the jacket, somehow, inside out, being walked in two different directions at once by dogs unaccustomed to walking together. Not that it matters, I have a reputation for being somewhat odd… being a newcomer to the village. I have only lived here fifteen years, after all, and it is only with the birth of my granddaughter here that I seem, finally, to stand out a little less.
We really are strange creatures. Anything at all outside the norm we tend to view with deep suspicion, even whilst presenting all the appearance of being warm and welcoming. I suppose it is a leftover from our original and instinctive survival skills. I see it echoed in the behaviour of the dogs. Give them something new to try and though they will not refuse, they want to have a damned good sniff first.
And like dogs, the unfamiliar can bring out unpleasant reactions in us, as uncontrolled extensions to the original survival impulse. … like the difference between a dog alert to the safety of its family…or the territorial behaviour that will make a dog snap at a child who tries to take its toy. It is the same impulse. One end of the scale serves a useful and protective purpose, the other is dangerous.
Unless we become familiar with something, there is always a guard that goes up, whether we are conscious of it or not. If something is completely outside our ken, we will make snap judgements, usually from a distinctly defensive position, until we are better informed. If we don’t have the opportunity or take the time to get to know more, those judgements can stick, hidden below the surface, risking deepening into rigid distrust or prejudice and our preoccupation can lead us to make mistakes…and while some of them are just as silly as wearing a coat inside out, some may be big enough to be far more damaging, both to those against whom we direct them and to ourselves.