transcription from my notebook.
"do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee" - john donne.
there is a time when you need strangers. to empty a part of your soul to, with no attachments. when you feel those in your inner circle cannot carry or understand the weight of your emotions. that's when strangers can be a gift.
that's what i thought about this morning after my co-worker said last night:
"i never go to a bar to talk to someone i don't know"
i thought about it and agreed. and i was conflicted. there was something that i really understood about that. people you don't know can be tiring. and something about that also made me sad. people you don't know can be surprising and stimulating.
i understand her because the culture of bars, specifically, and how conversations go there is usually the beginnings of our ridiculous mating ritual to find someone romantic to connect - or go home- with.
so if you already have that somebody - or you just don't feel like doing the labor or sifting through possibly tiring, (and if you're a woman, often unnecessarily aggressive and suggestive) conversation - why be open to the person next to you?
it's not always this case but often you're so used to someone tempering their conversation in order to be the most attractive. even if it's not a flirtatious thing. we want to look our best to people. our most interesting - or unphased - selves. so it's often not a real conversation, but rather a test, a feather puffing, a ritual of who's cooler. who cares less.
nothing too wrong with that, i guess. if you like vapid interactions. i mean, we're wired to do that biologically, i guess. but i think that's why i don't like being by myself at bars anymore. or talking to my seat mate on the plane.
but it's not just the tiring mating ritual as to why i don't talk to strangers anymore. most of the time i don't want to talk to someone "who doesn't know me". it's a reason also why i get so reluctant to try to find a therapist. so much work, intimacy and trust is. so why waste that work on a stranger?
i'm a naturally curious person. especially about humans and how we live and our mundane and sometimes extraordinary, but mostly mundane, lives. what motivates us? what does our day to day look like? what is your particular skill set? it amazes me what we can (and can't/won't) do.
so because of this, i should be more open to strangers, right? but unless i'm traveling (and i never really do that alone anymore - something i can lament at a later time) - i write many of them off.
i'm tired, i think.
at least, that's the phrase that comes to my mind when i think about all this.
i'm tired of trying to fend off mating rituals, of having conversations that have a faux-depth to them, that involves no actual listening.
maybe that's it.
that's what's coming to my mind now. wade slowly back into the water with strangers. we can still have our suits on, just ask a couple more questions.