During the course of my recent Christmas vacation, I finished Douglas Adams' "The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul." If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.
One of the more interesting points of the book concerns itself with a particular deity: Thor, Norse god of Crops, Weather, and Thunder. Thor apparently has lived among mortals for countless ages; he went entirely unnoticed because people simply fail to notice him. During one portion of the book which contained Thor, he was walking down a busy London street in full Viking gear (furs, horned helmet) and carried Mjollnir along with him. No one, not a single person, made any special note of his presence.
This got me thinking about an interesting part of The Hitchhiker's Guide; that is, the Somebody Else's Problem Field. Essentially, if a person sees something so incredibly absurd that they are entirely unable to cope with it, they choose to ignore it. I know theories of this type have been tested repeatedly, but I wanted to run an experiment for myself.
One of my Christmas presents was a plastic Viking helmet which I purchased at a Halloween store. It is VERY noticable, the sort of thing that makes you stop and stare for a moment. I decided that I'm going to wear it around the RIT campus for at least the next week. I'll show up to all of my classes wearing it, I'll walk around the academic quad wearing it, I'll wear it when I'm getting lunch, and I'll wear it on the bus system. In short, I'll be wearing it all the time. I started running this experiment Monday, when I was doing my laundry. So far, after having been wearing a Viking helmet, horns and all, in full view of at least 700 people, ONE person (outside of class and people I know) has mentioned something about it. Everyone else has ignored me completely, as if I weren't even there. Hell, getting lunch today, a guy stopped me and said, "Hey, what is that?" I assumed he was referring to the helmet, but before I could say anything, he added, "Did you get that at the grill?" He was referring to my lunch.
This should certainly be interesting.
End of Day 1:
Out of the 1000+ strangers that I passed on the RIT campus today, precisely 3 total had something to say about the helmet. This warrants further testing.