“Why didn’t you come say Hi?”
Umm, it is a little tough to explain.
It is pretty likely that I was really happy to see you, as in literally “see” you. And I sincerely wish that your life is great, and everything is well at your end.
(I wonder, though… that if that weren’t the case, and if you were weathering challenges, would you tell me?)
And so, if we were to run into each other someplace, I suppose we would exchange pleasantries about the weather, mutual friends, children, school updates, etc. All important and significant details, I know. And I am good at this stuff, I really am. I learned early enough to converse, talk to strangers and acquaintances, make people comfortable. Someone once described me as being “delightful in most social situations.” But these aren’t my favorite kind of conversations. They feel rather onerous to me. I feel the burden of being “socially delightful.” It isn’t that I don’t care about you or your life; I genuinely do. But I don’t know if I am really interested in exchanging mundane details about our mutual lives.
Is any detail mundane, though? Not to the individual in question, no. I find the mundaneness in my life rather beautiful. It is comforting, grounding. But I am not necessarily excited about sharing it with others.
Does that make sense?
Also, I have come to think that I (or we?) am an outsider to everyone else’s life but my own. Friendly outsider, perhaps? So I can lend a ear, a shoulder… but can I do much else?
Maybe that is the point of these general encounters. To listen without judgment. To be a friendly witness, a silent and warm presence.
What I’d love to know is what you think about life. I would love to know about your imaginings, fears and victories. I’d like to know how you fell, and what made you rise.
But these conversations are organic, and best left unplanned.
Besides, not everyone is necessarily up for that conversation. So we continue to subsist on superficial talk. And it keeps things chugging along nicely.