Underlying Atmospheres

Have you ever had the feeling when you walk into a room and it all seems relatively normal to the eye, but yet you pick up an underlying atmosphere, a kind of mood pervading?

I think most of us have. These atmospheres are hard to quantify yet we feel them. People put on a show in an attempt to hide the atmosphere, sometimes this can be cut with a knife. These atmospheres tend not to be positive, though we can sense the mirth of shared joke underneath when people are meant to be serious. Someone says something funny and it lingers say when a teacher walks into the room. One can sense the echo of an argument, the tension of a highly politicized environment, or a kind of depression behind a brave face. There is a “don’t mention the X “, in some cases, and conflict can leave behind an almost tangible residue. If people have been “naughty” that too leaves an atmosphere. And of course, if someone has been smoking skunk, that is pretty easy to smell. At face value you may be offered a glass of wine, yet the atmosphere suggests it is a poisoned chalice. One notices these atmospheres, in houses, in bars, in institutions and meeting rooms. Those accustomed to the atmosphere may no longer be sensitive to it, for them it is normal. These atmospheres can have an unspoken or a “we don’t talk about that” theme. Secrets always leave an atmosphere. The absence of someone who might otherwise be there, leaves a ghost. The unresolved always leaves an atmosphere.

People can think they have pulled it off and acted normal. One cannot be sure what the hell is going on, when one walks into a room, but one senses something is off. There is something lurking under the surface. It is easy then to interact solely with the face value and never inquire about what one senses. One joins in with the charade. It can be that people simply need to recover their composure or that something else is going on. It is hard to say, but the senses remember the intangible, the mentioning of which might seem foolish and few like to risk losing face. These intangibles can sometimes be red flag warning signs.

Having cued this up:

Do I notice the underlying atmospheres?

Have I ever ignored these because I was too “polite” to mention them?

Have I ever gotten myself into a difficult situation by ignoring what my senses tell me?

Do I favour the face value over my intuition?

If so, why?