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空気ってどうやって読むの? Don’t Read the Air, Just Breathe It

Today I learned about the existence of air.

When it’s sunny outside, M would say, “Let’s get some fresh air!” and take me out to the balcony holding me in her arms. The air is clear outside, and when I feel the wind on my face I can’t help crying “Meoowww!” out of sheer joy.

Air is what I breathe in, and breathe out.

M also breathes air in and out every morning when she does yoga. She seems refreshed afterwards, so air is pretty cool.

I’ve never seen air, but it does seem to be there.

In Japanese, there is an expression called “read the air” (kuuki o yomu). According to M, it’s something that grown ups do to keep the atmosphere nice in certain situations. Kind of like, “sensing the atmosphere of a situation and acting accordingly”.

But I don’t really get it. Humans can see air? I certainly can’t. If humans can’t see air, how do they “read” it? I thought that humans could only read words and books.

It seems that in the grown up world, humans are naturally expected to sense the atmosphere and play along. You’re supposed to laugh even if something isn’t funny, because everyone else is laughing. You’re expected to stick around because everyone else is staying, even if you want to go home. Or sometimes you’re supposed to spend time with someone you don’t really like.

Man, it must be tough to be human.

Why do you have to “read the air” and keep the atmosphere peaceful?

Come on. Air isn’t there to be read. Even if you do decide to “read the air” and try to keep up with the situation, that’s just exhausting.

I personally don’t like forcing myself to do things because it drains me. M often invites people to the house. People who seem for the first time are way too excited and go, “Hiiii Leo!!!” and run towards me, sticking their hands out to pet me. I don’t enjoy that. I don’t like being touched by people I’ve never met (I mean, wouldn’t you?), so I dash into the closet to hide. When I’m ready, I’ll walk out of the closet, check and see if they’re not crazy, and then go near them (if they’re not).

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