We were out with friends hopping bars a couple of weeks back. I walk slowly these days so I end up braving the cold November night to hang back with the smokers. They're tugging hurriedly on their cigarettes, anxious to get inside and warm their hands. We're laughing about something I forget when the door opens and she appears looking worried. There's a guy here that we know and we haven't seen him for years.

He was a fighter, one of those small town fighters that you hear stories about. He'd prowl angry and shouting more than anything, but you'd hear stories, awful stories that made his name ring out. Way before that, he used to find reasons to pick fights with me in school. He was responsible for my second pre-teen concussion, but I fought him to a draw a few times once I'd reached puberty, so I used that to maintain a kind of respectful distance from him. I learn the reason for that worried look, he creeps out my girl, he used to have a thing for her way back when she was dating some old name. A friend of a friend back then, she'd catch him staring at her. He'd greet her with an arm that like his eyes, always lingered longer than was comfortable, but he never really spoke beyond hello.

The smokers take that long last exhalation and we head indoors to join the others. It's a classy bar, or at least it's trying, all shades of grey and expensive whiskies. He is sitting at the bar and eye contact is made as I try not to limp into the room. I figure that my brain is my best weapon. So I smile, half shocked, half happy and I walk straight up to him. That old friend greeting game, measured handshakes searching for quiet dominance, it's forced. The small talk ensues and we grasp at straws. He looks at my girl in between sentences. He stares, you know the type, they think they are being subtle when in fact they are gawping. He's shuffling his weight around as we discuss our lives now we've grown up. Turns out it's been six years since I last saw him.

Now we're talking and he's antsy, I'm drawing out the conversation for all I have, hoping some kind of rhythm will appear in the words. My group of friends are at the other end of the bar and he recognises half of the faces. Reaching for those long forgotten names, amongst the memories of god only knows what, almost softens his face. In all of the stuttering chat, he tries to repeatedly enforce the idea that he has changed, he has calmed down and grown up. I want to believe him but his buddy mentions the fight he had last weekend, he had to be dragged off some guy, and they both laugh about it freely.

So we're almost a pint in and his eyes are still flitting over my friends. You can tell he's mustering courage for something. The spaces between the little ticks get smaller. He runs his paws through his hair more often. He finally works up the nerve, blurting in the middle of a sentence like he has only just noticed "isn't that so and so's ex over there, she's looking well these days". I breathe in, "No, that's my wife to be, we've been together for five years now", his eyes turn to meet mine and I watch the plans he had formulated behind all the small talk melt into the air.

We get these ideas don't we? Our presumptions and subsequent judgements are based upon our own one sided conversation, based upon our fragmented memories of the past, of our perception of our past. We're all a little like the fighter, getting carried away with ourselves, with our internal struggles and whatever we decide will fix them.

What do you think about when you hear a song you love? You think about how you relate to it, how it makes you feel and what that means to you, where it places you within the storyline of your own life. A song is a snapshot. The ultimate thousand word picture. At no point does the band have any input into the meaning you attribute it. It is not a two sided conversation. Unbeknownst to them you create a set of expectations and pressures that only luck will see them live up to.

Like how he stared at her years back, creating a sense of ownership from his own spiralling dialogue, she had no choice in the matter. He gave her none. She was a passive actor in the film of his life. He projected his ideals onto her without stopping to consider any perspective but his own.

In that moment of realisation I was terrified. A thousand scenarios flowed at once through my brain, most ending in hospital treatment. He flashed me a glimpse of fury that dissipated before his hand emerged from his pocket, "Congratulations, old pal" he smiled. Relaxing, I shook his hand and I realised I was as guilty of this as him, that we are all a little guilty.

We are first generation social media babies. Raised on livejournal, we learnt to walk on myspace, shared pictures of puberty with facebook and tweeted our adult anxieties for everyone to see. We've grown obsessed with screens that reflect our own image. Etching our inner speech onto the walls of public forums like we offer a unique and indispensable insight into the world. We have placed ourselves at the very centre of the universe. Only plucking people from their orbit to confirm the things we already know.

We're all a little like the fighter aren't we, I thought, as I stood there still half expecting to get punched. He nodded a smile at her and half turned back to the bar. I'm sure he didn't even realise his body language. The conversation naturally thinned to a goodbye and I joined my friends on our way to the next bar.