Directed by Wally Pfister

Ever since Ross mentioned the concept of living on as an AI after we die in that episode of Friends, I’ve been kind of fascinated with the idea. When I saw the trailer for Transcendence a couple of months ago, I sat prepared, waiting in eager anticipation.

The story surrounds Dr Will Caster (Johnny Depp), a highly renowned researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, who is targeted by technology-resistant terrorists. After he is tactically taken down, his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and close friend Max (Paul Bettany), both fellow researchers, manage to upload his consciousness to a highly powerful super-computer.  This artificial Dr Caster, however, develops a seemingly endless thirst for power and knowledge, sending the whole world into craze.

I was really hoping to like it.

Reeaaallly hoping.

Whilst the concept was entertaining enough, there were endless problems with the writing. Huge pacing issues, minimal character development and rather confusing story arcs left me asking myself “wait, what?” far too many times. Also, anyone with a minimal scientific grounding could poke holes in story left, right and centre. The acting was sub-par, which was disappointing considering the talent on display. Only the mildly entertaining special effects – which were kind of ridiculous in itself – made it an acceptable two hours to sit through.

In truth, Transcendence is like fitting a Ferrari without an engine. It’s flashy and pretty, but with nothing to power it home.


Tom walked to her apartment, intoxicated by the promise of the evening.

I watched the film “Twelve Years a Slave” the other day. While I thought it was an incredible story and a very well made film, there was something that held me back from loving the movie. I spent the following few days trying to figure out what exactly it was – whether I found it too violent, or too slow – but I soon came to realise that it was none of those things, rather it was the fact that everyone and everything had hyped the quality of the film to a level beyond what it deserved.

This got me thinking (dangerous, I know) about the concept of ‘hype’ and how it has the ability to ruin everything that is good in our lives. The second someone tells you that something is ‘good’, your reaction to that thing is doomed to be a comparison of their feelings. It doesn’t matter how good you are at blocking out their opinions, their viewpoint will always be sizzling in the back of your mind, poking at your senses, unconsciously and automatically inflicting their demons upon them.

It’s not just about films either.

“Here, take a sip of this drink, it’s amazing”

“I wasn’t a huge fan of that restaurant”

“I have a friend named Sam, I think you two would really hit it off”

That’s why I hate hearing what people think of films or books, especially ones that I’ve been looking forward to. I know that someone reading the Harry Potter series today would never enjoy it as much as I did when I first read them because of all the fanfare surrounding them these days.

Admittedly, hype could also have the opposite affect, especially when something has been hyped down. My most recent experience of this involved the city of Paris. I was always told that it was rather a disappointment – apart from the Eiffel tower and the Mona Lisa, there was nothing to get overly fussed about. Maybe this lowered my expectations of the city, but I ended up adoring that little town. Nonetheless, however, I am fairly sure I would have still really liked Paris if I had heard nothing about it. Imagine never having heard of the Eiffel Tower, and then seeing for the first time!

Every now and then, though, there comes the things in life that power through all the hype. They are different for everyone, I think, which is a peaceful thought. Maybe there are so remarkable to you that no amount of hype can overthrow the expectation. Things that give you that shivering sensation when you encounter them or make you learn forward and scream into your fist. I guess, maybe, it’s those things that keep us going, those things that make life worth living. Maybe that’s why we meet new people, see new films and visit new places – to see if life can gift us with another spine shivering moment.

Makes it all kind of worth it then, doesn’t it?

My name is Sidd and I have abandonment issues.

So there is this girl I used to go to school with. Let’s call her ‘Lisa’.
I was never that close to Lisa. We didn’t eat lunch together, or sit next to each other in class. We were never paired up for a project, or even spoke that regularly. We did however acknowledge each other’s presence every now and then – a nod and smile as we passed each other in the hall way and sometimes, if we were feeling quite vicarious, a “Hi, how are you going?” every now and then.
Lisa was never a friend, nor was she was never an enemy. She was an acquaintance, a classmate, and nothing more.
Four years ago we graduated from high school and both of us, amongst others, went to the same university. We did not study the same course, nor were we on the same campus for much of the time. We did, however, run into each other every now and then.
The first few times this happened, we said hello to each other and had a short conversation. Nothing major, but just acknowledging that we knew each other from our past.
A couple of years of this passed on, our random meetings becoming less and less common. She never thought of me, I never thought of her. It wasn’t an issue, nor was it anything at all. They were average interactions between two old acquaintances.
There was a day, however, last year in March. The semester had just begun and I found myself walking through a relatively busy corridor. I saw Lisa ahead, walking in the opposite direction. I looked at her, making an effort to acknowledge that I’d seen her, only planning only to say hello and continue on my path.
I made eye contact and saw that she had seen me. As I proceeded to smile and say hi, I saw her turn away and just walk past.
Now this may just be me being shallow, but when was the point where we stopped being acquaintances? When did the nod–smile combination stop applying as a greeting? When did she become some kind of inhumane, psychotic bitch?
(I may have taken that too far)
Regardless, I eventually accepted that I was not worth the effort of acknowledgment. I got over it fairly quickly, but I will admit that it did stick in the back of my head for a while. Similar instances occurred between Lisa and I a few times over the past few years and I have finally come to peace with the truth.
It did get me thinking, however. How do you decide someone becomes not worth the effort? Is there a systematic process, or just an absence for a particular period of time? Do we all do this? Or just those of us that are generally horrible?
Or is it purely that fact that conversation is effort? The greetings and formalities and finding out information about the lives of people you don’t really care about – it can be a chore.
It’s been a few months since I last saw Lisa. I hadn’t thought about her until this morning. I had just arrived at the train station and I saw an old primary school friend named Julie. She was talking to a friend, whom I didn’t know. I considered stopping and saying hello, but I decided against it. It was a horrible moment when I realised, wow, I’m just like Lisa. I did not bother, with dear Julie. I deemed her ‘not worth the effort’ just like Lisa did to me. It made me realise that, maybe, I was a little harsh on Lisa.
It seems reasonable that we can only have a limited number of friends and acquaintances. We would, otherwise, spend much of our day involved in small talk.
Small talk is awkward. It’s a two or three minute conversation compiling of a beginning, middle and an end. It’s like writing an essay with a word limit that is far too low – you don’t want to get into anything too serious cause then you’ll go over. You could talk about anything and everything, but it’s probably more effective to focus on one point in particular. And, you have to find an interesting way to sum everything up and find a way to finish up. Extra marks for succinct language and marks will be lost for incorrect referencing.
I probably won’t see Lisa again very soon. It’s safe to say that our relationship has fizzled out into nothing and that neither of us really mind that it’s gone that way. It’s not that she’s a bad person or rude in any way. It’s just how these things work out.

Or maybe she just really hates me?

Dear Mum, I’m going to be an astronaut.

Dear Blog,
I haven’t written in you for a very long time, I’m sorry, I’ve been out exploring the world.
Actually no, I’ve been exploring the University of New South Wales.
Well really basically the Law building, Stellini Pasta Bar and a few trips to the Mathews building. I don’t know where anything else is.
Seriously, some guy asked me for directions last week, I had no idea what he was talking about. He may as well have asked for directions to the moon, I probably would have a better idea.
But regardless of my innate sense of misdirection, I have rather enjoyed the last two months of school. I have made a steady stream of friends who I will refer to as ‘those law school buddies of mine’ for the remainder of my life, I’ve found a place where I can pick up a decent cup of coffee and I seem to know what’s going on in class (except for criminal law, no idea what the hell goes on in there).
UNSW has proven interesting. The narrow alleyways between buildings remind me somewhat of London and the flash currents of air through the wind tunnel of a main walkway keep the campus cool regardless the temperature. Whilst I miss the peace of the main quadrangle of Sydney Uni and ‘my spot’ at JDV in Lidcombe, I feel like there is a place for my here in Kensington.
Whilst this sense of tranquility may be purely a result of my mid semester assessments being finished, or the fact I don’t have any set reading for the next couple of weeks, knowing that I’m not pulling out my hair is a good sign.

Or maybe this is just what Stockholm syndrome feels like?

The amount of sugar I put into my coffee is dependant on my mood at the time and how many people are watching me add sugar.

Today, for the first time in what seems like decades, I went to a coffee shop and used my real name. Now, I never use my real name, and there are many reasons for this. The main one is because nobody ever knows how to spell it. I’m not even talking about my full name – Siddharth – I’m talking my one-syllable, shortened version of my name. Sidd is not that hard to say or spell. Though yes, I do complicate it slightly by using two ‘Ds’ instead of one, it still cannot be that much of a deal.
Now, back to the coffee shop instance – usually when I say my real name, I get my coffee cups back with a number of different spellings. Here a few of my favourites:
“Mark” (I’m not even kidding)
Because of this, in recent years I have resorted to using a numerous number of fake names. This, I thought, would solve the problem easily (as lying always does). Then, I realized, that even when using generic names such as John, Tom or Fernando (It’s a conversation starter) there would still be corrections needed. My favourite occasion was when I took on the character of “Jasper” and the name “Jasmine” was called out against my order. My greatest worry in that case was that the girl taking the order looked at me and didn’t even flinch in taking that name.
So in knowing that it is not the complexity of the name itself that causes confusion, I must conclude that maybe it is the environment of the shop itself that restricts the barista from hearing my name correctly. The loud chatter of customers, the grind of the coffee machine, and the whistle of that milk-frother thingo – all factors contributing to the baristas lack of hearing. Worrying, though, considering that they are taking my coffee order in the same environment.
Now, I’m a fan of coffee shops. They bring in everyone from addicts needing their daily fix to couples on tentative first dates. But it’s amazing how well baristas get to know their customers, and I don’t mean just through general conversation. I feel as though you can tell a lot about a person from their coffee order – espresso shots for the no-nonsense business type, and caramel latte’s for the ones just going for the coffee-drinker image*. Of course, the longer the length of the order, the more serious the coffee connoisseur (or just the more annoying).
The reason I started writing all this in the first place was that today, when I used my real name to order my coffee, the barista actually spelt my name correctly. No, I did not spell it out for her, and no I had never been to her before. She just naturally spelt ‘Sidd’ with an ‘I’ and two ‘Ds’.
Who the hell does that? Seriously?
*(sorry NLH – RB, you’ll like that one)

To read between the lines, and other cliches like that.

She said hello.
[Holy crap she said hello.
What does that mean? Does that mean she likes me?
No, don’t be silly – she’s just friendly, just saying hello. Everyone says hello.
That’s not true. Some people say ‘hey’ or ‘hi’. ‘Hello’ is quite forceful when you think about it. Damn it, that means she’s not relaxed. Is saying hello to me a chore? I don’t want her to think she has to be formal around me.
Damn it, man. You’ve screwed it up again.
Did she smile? Yes she did. Okay that’s a good sign. But don’t look into it too much – she probably smiles at everyone. You know she does – that’s why she’s so pretty.
Wow, that was even awkward to just think.
But it’s so true! Ugh her hair and her eyes and her mouth and her nose. Oh my god her nose!
Wow it’s definitely weird that you like her nose.
I’m okay with it.
Of course you are.
Okay. I need to say something now. I’m thinking maybe a ‘hey’.
But then you give her the conversation – don’t make her ask the questions. Be confident!
Okay Okay! How’s this?]
“Hey, how are you?” he asked back, returning a smile as he lowered his headphones from atop his head.
“I’m good! Just, you know, busy with class and stuff”
[Oh crap, she said ‘and stuff’
That means she’s doing stuff other than uni! Maybe it’s some suave Italian guy named ‘Juan’ or something. She probably met him in the park whilst he was taking photos of birds and noting how incredibly delicate and beautiful they are. Damn it, you’ve screwed it up again!
Did I sound like I was kidding?
It’s probably nothing. Go on. Say something else.
It totally isn’t. We need to back away.
NO! Hold on, we can power through.
Okay okay! Don’t need to be so violent! Maybe this is okay.]
“Ahh really? Hope it’s not building up on you?”
“No, it’s okay, It’s just enough stress for it to be helpful” she laughed, still holding the textbook in her arms, clutched towards her chest.
[Okay, stay cool, she just laughed.
Get a grip! This is an opportunity. Here, say this]
“That’s good I guess” he chuckled in return, glancing down towards the table and then returning his gaze. “You always need some time off though”
“Yeah I guess, I just need everything sorted out and I’ll be okay” she nodded, shrugging slightly, her textbook slipping slightly.
[She’s being very vague.
That’s cause you’re being vague.]
“Oh I haven’t seen that film you recommended yet!” she jolted. “I’ll get around to it soon though.”
“Oh, yeah, well let me know when you see it – I think you’ll like it, I did”
“Yes your taste in films usually delivers quite well, I find” she smiled again – beamed, really.
[Was that a compliment?
I think so.
Holy crap! That was a compliment!
Okay, stay cool. Ask her to sit down. Maybe she wants a cup of coffee or something?
No, tea, she likes tea.
Okay, tea then, jeez…]
“Hey, do you want to sit down?” he motioned towards the chair opposite. “Might get a cup of tea or something?”
“Oh, I can’t, I have to go to a meeting. Supervisor needs to discuss my report, it’s all quite tedious,” she said, swaying slightly, her finger fiddling with the spine of her book.
[Damn it.
Maybe she genuinely has to go?
It’s worth a shot, come on.]
“Ahh okay” he said, in a manner that could surely have hid his disappointment more adequately. “Maybe another time?”
“Yeah sure! Give me a call and we’ll set something up” she said as she adjusted her stance, motioning towards the door.
“Sure, sure” he nodded, smiling.
“See you”
[See, that was okay right?
I guess.]
He smiled to himself.
[I just need to call her at some point now. Make sure that’s not too awkward.
Don’t worry it’ll be fine. You’ve talked on the phone before, mate.
You think?
Yeah. One thing though – do you have her number?]
And soon as the smile came, it vanished, his hand grabbing his forehead.
“Shit” he mumbled into table. 

Did you want paper, plastic or just shut the f**k up?

I work at a supermarket, and whilst that sounds incredibly bland and mundane, I’ve noticed that it’s an incredibly amazing place to people watch. This is an environment where people come to buy items necessary for life, though do not wish to part with their hard earned cash. It is not like entering a boutique store where you inspect items, consider whether it is worthy of your money and then choose to buy or not buy the item and your final decision not impacting the grand scheme of your life. No, you go to a supermarket to buy essentials – bread, milk, chocolate etc – all crucial to existence. This makes the supermarket floor a grape-ridden, detergent-reeking battlefield between customers and staff.
There are a few different kinds of customers we encounter on a daily basis. Firstly, there’s the Perfectionist. These are the people that are overly picky about the quality of products. If there is a scratch on a box, they won’t look at it. If the roots of a carrot are not adequately bushy, there will be pandemonium. They are the ones that will request that you look ‘out back’ to check if there is another item in stock, and if not, demand a discount.
Related to the Perfectionist is the Troll. These are the people that will go out of their way to get every item for free. They know that there is nothing wrong with the item, but still try and call out the staff to manipulate a deal. I’ve heard lines like “That apple is an odd colour, can I get it for free?” No, you can’t. There are other apples. It’s not the last apple on earth. Just go and pick out another one.
The Mad-Packer is one that is quite difficult to deal with. They demand for their bags to be packed in a certain way, ensuring that all items are cushioned and put in no danger. They are under the impression that we as cashiers are determined to destroy all of their items. After handing us their enviro-friendly bags they will begin their commands. “Don’t pack the grapes next the kiwi-fruit, they’ll get squashed!!” or “Keep the tomatoes separate from the light globes! They might develop Chlamydia!!” (I may have exaggerated).
Then there are the Germaphobes who believe that everyone and everything is carrying some kind of disease. They are the ones who wrap their hands in plastic bags when exchanging money, or attempt to scan their loyalty cards themselves by reaching over the counter (often unsuccessfully, I must add).
The Kidders, whilst not actually being any sort of nuisance, can be so at times. They are the ones that will, upon an item not scanning properly, make the joke “Oh well it must be free then!” If you’re having a good day, these are the people that will make your day better. But if you’re six hours in to a nine-hour shift, these people are just annoying.
The Demanders are some of the most irritating customers. They are generally disguised as nice, friendly people, so you don’t see them coming. But after they leave you realize you have just spent thirty minutes attending to just that customer’s needs. One such regular comes to mind – every Thursday she comes in and asks for already cut pumpkins to be cut to her specifications, she asks for chickens to be cooked in a certain way and for bags to be packed containing certain things. There is a point when customer service moves from a cashier-customer relationship to a master-servant one.
Last, but not least, are the Turtles. These people generally live in their own world and forget that others are shopping at the same time. They travel around the store, pushing their trolleys and traveling at speeds of half-a-metre/ hour. They take their time loading the conveyor belt at the checkout, and often call out “Oh I forgot something, I’ll just be a second…” then go off across the store to find more items, holding up everyone else in line. They are the ones that take out their wallets after the cost has been announced to them and only begin the search for their loyalty cards when asked.
Don’t get me wrong – working at a supermarket isn’t that bad. Whilst there are the odd angry and annoying customers, you always get plenty of really friendly people come through that make you day. Also, working with some of the nicest people around helps a lot too. One thing you always know is that at the end of the day, you’re always going to have a story to tell. 

I, the bank, and you, the postman.

This week I experienced possibly one of modern humanity’s most awkward situations. It is that of the eBay purchase direct pick up.
Two days previous, in my many hours of procrastination (which is saying something, considering it’s only the second week of semester), I embarked on our online shopping friend just for a casual browse. This for me is quite regular, but rare is the occasion when I actually put my mouse forward and buy something. However, this was one such occasion. I spied a set of DVDs – A box set, if you will – of one of my favourite television sit-coms, 30 Rock. It was at a bargain price, considering it’s condition, so I decided that I should offer a certain amount of money to its purchase. Miraculously, I won the bidding war (It was a Buy–It–Now item) and found myself the owner-to-be of a set of discs that should provide me with hours of entertainment.
As I went forth to pay for my item, I noticed that the current owner also lived in Sydney. This made me question the extravagant extra fee that I was being charged for postage (seven dollars). I decided then to contact the seller and request that I retrieve the package from them directly.
And so a date was set for the transaction to be completed! A central location was selected (quite literally, Central Station). A series of communications were exchanged between the Seller and I (like, four text messages), confirming that the man I was purchasing my treasure from was a gentleman named William.
And so I stood at the designated meeting point, with enough funds to present my deliverer with secured in my pocket. I had received a communiqué stating that he would arrive within minutes. I began analysing passers by and trying to guess who would be the one to bring me my prize. I eyed a passer who I considered a possible candidate, though he walked by without a care. Another stood near and inspected his iPhone, I guessed maybe about to send me a message questioning my location, but no, no message arrived and I continued my wait.
Then he appeared, as if to break through the crowd towards the dowry he so desired. I knew he was the man I was looking for as he was holding my dearest in his left hand. And thus, the interaction began.
I shook the man’s free hand and offered a greeting, which he returned. He automatically moved the item towards me, and I grabbed it with enthusiastic force. I inspected it all over, turning the encasing box in my hands. Upon approve, I reached in my pocket and handing dear William his earnings, which he took and pocketed himself. Then there was a pause, I looked at him and he looked at me. The break must have lasted just a second, but it may have lasted hours. That was it, the end of our journey. I had received what I wanted from dear William, and William had received what he wanted from me. I held my hand for him to shake again, and as he obliged, I sent my regards and turned away, never to see him once more.
It is a frightening thought, is it not, to know that our social interactions have become so simple and emotionless? I will not think of William when I watch my DVDs, nor will William think of me as he spends his money. But such awkward interactions have become a commonality. Should I have engaged in a form of conversation with William? Should he have offered me any words of good fortune with my purchase as he left? Or did we just reenact the process of a bank transfer in person?
Or maybe I should just next time pay the extra for postage? 

So do you want to get a drink and check-in on Facebook with me some time?

The other day, as I was sitting in restaurant with a group of my friends, the topic of Facebook came up in conversation. In reality this topic comes up quite often in our group because one of us, let’s call him ‘Tom”, doesn’t have a Facebook account.
It usually starts by someone bringing up a issue regarding a party or gathering of some sort.
“Hey, are you going to Jen’s 21st?”
This is usually followed by a confused and slightly paranoid response from Tom.
“I didn’t know Jen was having a 21st.”
I’ll need my ears checked if more than a second passes before someone yells something along the lines of “DUDE WHY DON’T YOU HAVE FACEBOOK?”
And then it begins.
Is it not odd to think that just a few years ago we survived without this device? Something that we are constantly checking every few minutes on every medium we can get our hands on? Personally, I have Facebook on everything from my tablet to my phone, but rare is the occasion when I only have one device on me. As I write to you now, I am sitting at my laptop with our friend open as a tab on my desktop. My mobile phone is sitting a few metres away, with my iPod next to it. My iPad is in my messenger bag because I’d taken it out with me earlier today. So really, if I were to get a notification now, I’d get it four times. Yes, I need to ensure that I immediately know that my friend Mark has posted a ‘Y U NO’ meme on my wall, with no momentary lapse in concentration as an excuse.  
On the flip side, we have to consider whether Facebook has become a necessary part of life these days. Do we not generally assume when we meet someone that they have an account? Has it not come to the point that we now instantly judge anyone that doesn’t have one? Has adding someone on facebook become the new ‘getting their number”? Surely without that medium anybody would be at a disadvantage.
So during these discussions, or arguments (yes, they are minor arguments), Tom puts forward a very similar case each time. It’s the usual “I don’t want to conform” point – the classic, go-to move for any non-Facebooker. This, whilst being admirable, is such a ridiculous notion I feel like stealing all of Tom’s shoes and super gluing Lego to the pedals in his car.
What would you say if a doctor chooses not to prescribe antibiotics to an influenza patient because, well, they don’t want to conform like all the other doctors? What about if an electronics company started making black and white televisions because colour is just a bit too mainstream? Do we not think of people that refuse to use telephones as backward? Isn’t Facebook and social networking not the new, more advanced, telephone? Basically, the point that I’m trying to make is that there is a difference between conforming to society and just simply not getting with the times, man.
The other argument that Tom uses is the “If I get Facebook I’ll just procrastinate on it all day” case. Fair, yes, but Tom is surely in a position of power in this respect. He knows the effects of Facebook. He recognises the power of time wasting it can enforce; he’s seen it with his own eyes. Surely it would be easier for him to go to lengths to ensure it doesn’t happen to him? Regardless of this, aren’t the benefits far greater than the drawbacks?
Tom brought up an interesting point though, “Do you think we’ll get to a point where babies will be assigned Facebook accounts just as they are born? Will they become like identification documents?” Interesting, yes, but all I could respond with was “Would that be such a bad thing?”. If Tom gets an account and just checks it every now and then, he’ll be able to keep up to date with all of his friends. It bugs me that he misses out on things just because he is kept out of the loop. It’s frustrating when you need to contact him and you’re overseas and can’t just send a text. Facebook, the corporate, mainstream giant that it is, is part of our lives now and will be until we find a better way. 

A Collection of Thoughts.

They say that everything is okay in the end. If it’s not okay, then it’s not the end. It’s all a process leading to a point where peace is reached and happiness is achieved.
But what if you are just part of the process? What if the inevitable happiness is not meant for you? What if you are just a secondary character in an epic survival tale, one that takes the hit and doesn’t make it to the end of the film?
Depressing thought, isn’t it? Is everything really okay in the end, or do we just learn to deal with our problems? Do times of grief really pass, or do they constantly exist and we just cope with them on a daily basis?

Isn’t it nice to think that we all are here for a reason? That every person you walk past on the street passes you because they were meant to? That girl that smiled at you at the coffee shop doesn’t just smile at everyone? That the hole in your socks dips below the brim of your shoe so the world can’t see it? Nice, isn’t it, to believe that sometimes the universe treats you nicely?
We have good days and we have bad days. Sometimes we have a many good days in a row, and we call them good weeks, or good months or years. Sometimes, well most of the time, we take good days for granted. It takes a properly horrid day to make us realize how good we had it. What a shame it is, though, to think that we had good days and didn’t fully appreciate them.

She dipped her head, grinned and skipped across the corridor into his arms. Her brown hair bounced in the air before landing on his shoulders. The force sent him onto his back foot, smiling as he regained his balance. His arms set around her as her head came to rest on the nape of his neck. He felt her breathe in and exhale slowly, as if she was breathing in fresh air after months in solitude. 

If I could have a super power, it would be to make people happy. That’s all people really need. The richest man in the world may suffer depression and the poorest might laugh all day long. Happiness is the only thing that makes the world go round. People only want things when they aren’t happy. People only fight others when they aren’t happy.
Some ask themselves, “What do I need to be happy”. The answer is nothing. Happiness doesn’t come from anything other than you. It doesn’t come in the form of cars, or money, or love or praise – You can be happy without all of that.
It’s just more fun if you have them.

When you meet someone, do you expect him or her to be a nice person? Do you assume that everyone you meet is innately good? Or, do you assume that they are bad and when they do nice things they prove themselves otherwise?

Everyone is entitled to my opinion.
Why do you dress nicely every time you go out? Maybe if you’re just heading to the supermarket, or even to the post office, why do you put effort into your appearance? Do you think you’ll run into somebody important? Do you think you’ll run into the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with? Is there someone you want to impress, or maybe show up?
Or are you just so insecure that you worry over the judgment that perfect strangers will make?

If you can’t find a girlfriend or a boyfriend, just become a narcissist and live happily ever after.

The end.