Have you ever had one of those unexpected impulses to do something really inappropriate? We call this the Vortex.
Say, for example, you’re walking down some stairs with a friend and you suddenly get the urge to trip them. Or you’re talking to your lecturer and, for no reason, you feel like it’d be great to kick them in the shins. Or you’re out in a restaurant eating soup and just really want to crack it over the head of your date, the way you’d crack open a soft-boiled egg.
That’s the Vortex.
You don’t know where the feeling has come from. You might be annoyed at the target of these feelings, but you might just as easily not. The Vortex doesn’t even need to be directed someone specific – maybe you just feel like kicking a stranger.
The Vortex can also apply to other urges. Maybe you want to shout “POO-FACE!” as loud as you can in a crowded shopping mall. Or blow a raspberry when you’re meeting the president. This can also fall under the domain of the Vortex.
We’ve found the best way to deal with this, especially when the Vortex is directed at someone in your immediate vicinity, is to warn them what you want them to do and then ask if you can do it, but gently. “Babe, can I kick you in the shins softly?” “Mr. President, may I make a quiet little farting sound with my lips?” Then you give them a gentle shin-tap with your foot. And you feel pretty good afterwards. Generally, the Vortex is satisfied. And they feel good because they haven’t been unexpectedly brutalised by someone they had felt was a close personal friend.
Other times, however, there is no appropriate way to satisfy the Vortex. Your desire is so specific, so unpolite, or will get you in so much trouble – and there is no way to gentle it down – that you just have to deal with it. An example of this kind of Vortex might be wanting to push a stranger off the edge of a cliff for no reason.
To the drunk guy with his pants around his ankles, pissing off the mountains in Dharamsala while singing European pop songs at the top of his lungs: if you’re reading this, now you know what was going through her head when the girl behind you shouted, “OH MY GOD, VORTEX CONTROL!”