I had such an encounter today. Owning a retail store I often feel like a sitting duck for random egomaniacs looking for a place to roost. The trouble for me mostly is that I often don't know the difference between a genuine customer and someone who simply wants to fill my world with the wonder that is them. The shift becomes clear relatively quickly but those initial moments are often rife with anxiety for me. Of course most people are nice, wonderful, pleasant......even those who might need a little more attention. I love the give and take of a great conversation and the development of friendship that often comes from it. Today's Mr. Wonderful held no such promise, however, and as my eyes glazed over and the protective bubble of disassociation enveloped me I found my way once again to another world where I was alone and happy and not being suffocated by his overwhelming amazingness.
I often wonder what drives people to behave in such a fashion. Were they not adequately loved as children or were they loved too much? Are they essentially broken and needy or just assholes? I kindly confronted someone once about it (during an unexpectedly long silence during which she must have been choking). Once she recovered she simply threw up her arms and said "I can't help it. It's just the way I am. You just have to tell me to shut up."
Now maybe I'm old fashioned but I've always had the impression that once we got older than say....two that we were all on our own as far as communication goes. I maybe will tell you that you have lettuce in your teeth or that you just spit in my eye but I like to leave the word part to you. Whatever happened to the old social cues of looking over people's shoulders or openly yawning to suggest a change in conversation trajectory? If we can't use the subtlety of passive aggressive facial gestures or openly lie about our schedules how can we ever feel like we are really connecting with other people?
As I sat there today, distracting myself from what was being said at me by silently counting the "I's" and "Me's", I began to wonder how it would feel to never really be able to have a genuine connection with another person. There is something so magical about being able to find a kinship with someone and that can only be found when there is some kind of give and take, some sort of genuine ability to connect and feel some compassion for another person. This person didn't care about me....not visibly anyway. I felt like any body would have done for his purposes. Mine just happened to be the closest.
I don't mean to sound judgmental really. I guess I have enough of my own social bullshit to contend with that I don't get too caught up in thinking I'm any better than anyone else. I am incapable of small talk and I tend get noticeably antsy when the conversation steers toward the weather or the stock market. It does, however, make me aware of my place in the world and my relation both physically and socially to other human beings around me. I guess the very best part about being alive is to be constantly learning and growing and finding for ourselves a place where we feel happy and comfortable and at home. In the process of that sometimes we discover something unexpected and beautiful in another person and it fills us with joy.
I guess finding the occasional prince or princess is worth putting up with some terribly wordy, self-important frogs. But I have to wonder what becomes of all of those pretentious or arrogant or misguided opinions that float out in the atmosphere ungathered by a listening ear. Perhaps they join cow flatulence and combustion engine emissions and chew their way through our ozone toward outer space. Just a thought.....God knows I don't know many answers and I've already kept you long enough. I'm certain you must have something better to do than listen to me go on and on.