Saturday, August 16, 2008

free therapy.

Do I have "free therapy" written across my forehead?

Not a day goes by without someone, usually a complete stranger, approaching me with an insatiable desire to talk. If it were a close friend or someone I knew well, I suppose this wouldn't be so alarming to me, however, that is rarely the case. The other day it was a woman, while I'm out happily browsing the shops, who decides it is my turn to hear her life story. Starting with random, awkward comments she quickly dove into topics that do not make up friendly chit chat: religion and her soul, her apparent experience with childhood starvation and her lack of ability to hold onto friendships. Yesterday, at the gym, it was a man who felt the need to inform me that I reminded him of his ex-girlfriend with whom he'd shared many wild sexual encounters. Today, a woman who is incredibly uncomfortable accepting her inevitably increasing age gracefully. Most all of the people that approach me to talk, with the exception of the creepy man mentioned previously, seem like genuinely kind, nice people. My only question is...why me?
This has been a common occurrence my whole life. Whether on the bart train, waiting for a bus, in the line for the dressing room or at the grocery store, people love to talk to me. What you must understand is that in no way am I complaining about my ability to attract friendliness or the overt honestly of those talking to me, I am merely questioning why.
Spending much time over the years contemplating this question, I have only come up with one solution: these people, filled with millions of things to say, have no one to talk to. Or at least no one who will listen. And that is where my next question comes in--do I do like everyone else and do my best to exit the conversation as quickly as I can, nodding without actually listening or do I give them my full, undivided attention even when I'd rather be flipping through my iPod? Because of their almost desperate desire for conversation I feel that I nearly owe it to them to listen. It makes me weary of our society and the people living in it. Have we become so disconnected with human interactions that we can no longer connect to each other just for the hell of it? Are we so deprived of intimacy that we must pour our hearts out the second we're given a chance?

Until I can truly figure this out, I suppose I'll just have to keep on listening.

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