First things first, you've got to judge this book by its cover. You scan this stranger head to toe, processing every bit of information about their outfit. What kind of 20-something wears those shoes and with those pants?? You take it all in, from clothes to hair to how their personal accessories. Are they really "one-strapping" a back-pack right now?? As you pick apart their entire outfit, scoffing at the the image of them thinking they look even close to cool, you quickly go from a neutral opinion about your outfit to soaring confidence.
Next you start to analyze the geographic context of your encounter, asking the important question "Where is this person going??" Building on the first stage of judgment, you wonder to yourself if they are really "going to work right now dressed like that?!" Do they really give jobs to people who carry backpacks like that?? They have to be going somewhere else, right? Like to a school or something! I mean swinging a backpack like that maybe they are some weird real-life Billy Madison? As you start to confidently plan out their route to some crappy destination, your can really feel yourself getting a sense of who this stranger is.
Now that you've broken down the appearance of this stranger and deciphered what their destination is, you start to piece together their backstory. Anyone who still carries a backpack like that has to come from a sheltered life right? I mean maybe this is their first time out in public and they have no idea how look or behave in society. You're probably doing this person a favor by staring so angrily at them, how else would they know the general public (you) can't stand them anymore. You're getting better and better at this as you go along, you'll be able to write this stupid person's biography soon enough.
You've concluded that somehow what you are looking at is a real human that exists in the real world, but if that's true then that must mean they also date and have sex like other humans... but this person?? Really?? You start to reevaluate the appearance information you took in before. Maybe this person's really rich? Yeah they're a super rich homebody who has so much money potential mates look beyond their other horrible choices (like one-strapping that backpack) But if this person manages to be content and successful in dating why aren't you killing it?! You swear if this person has a significant other you're going to just quit dating forever.
Finally all your analysis and observation about this stranger has culminated in one overarching feeling: "Seething Hatred." Why is this person still in your line of sight? Why are they even near you to begin with?! You want to yell in their face, you think about shouting all of the mean thoughts you've had about this person's backpack and their weird sheltered life, but instead you keep it bottled up and stay angry the rest of the day.
As you have gotten completely sucked into your own anger and frustrations, another person has now begun to judge you... and it's all One-Strap's fault!
Illustration by Nathan Yaffe