Day 11: Today introduce yourself…Posted: January 11, 2011
…to someone you know but never speak to.
“A neighbor! A colleague! A shopkeeper! A local hooker!”
I did not do this.
I know, I know, only eleven days into the year and I’ve already failed. I’m okay with that.
While I’m not quite the raging misanthrope I pretend to be, interacting with people I don’t know (or choose not to speak to) exhausts me. The category of people the Book seems to be enjoining me to interact with is people I see regularly but never talk to. There’s a reason I don’t talk to those people: I don’t want to.
I worked for an international chain of soulless coffeeshops for nearly eight years, and a not insignificant part of my job was conversing – on the level of eye-gougingly pointless small talk – with strangers. Though some were friendly, many more were rude, or stupid, or both. It was the part of my job I hated most, and I hated a lot of it most of the time.
If I saw one of my neighbors in the grocery store – well, I probably wouldn’t recognize any of them, as I never interact with them. If I saw a former regular customer in the grocery store, I would, almost certainly, have absolutely nothing to say, other than banalities relating to coffee, the weather, or groceries – and so, rather than say something utterly devoid of meaning, I prefer to say nothing. This is why I don’t talk to strangers in general, and why I try to make those conversations which strangers start with me – on the train, for instance – as brief as possible, even at the risk of rudeness. I hate to waste words.