I Don’t Really Like People
I’ll say what we all secretly think: I don’t really like people.
I don’t like talking about the weather at a party. I don’t like spending way more time with weirdos at work than with my delightful husband.
Most of all, I don’t like being in spaces where you’re surrounded with strangers, and yet, you’re utterly alone.
Isn’t that the strangest feeling of all — the realisation that, in this supermarket, right now, you’re sharing a space with dozens, perhaps hundreds of people, and you don’t know any of them, and you will never, ever know them?
You will never know their stories. You will never know what makes them laugh, what makes them tick, what makes them feel alive.
You will never know anything of their beauty, their uniqueness, their craziness.
Think about it: if you’re lucky, you will know — and I mean, really know perhaps a handful of people. That’s it.
And even then, you might one day be sitting at the dinner table, and look up at your partner of 30 years, and realise that you’ve been sharing a life with somebody you thought you knew, someone you just don’t know anymore.
This has got to be the scariest paradox about our societies: that we have never been more alone.
Even with all we know about the human body and outer space and everything in between, we still haven’t solved this basic issue: how to connect with ourselves and others.
So you might ask me: “What can we do about it?”
Smile to everyone on the street like a lunatic?
Strike an awkward conversation with that woman you see everyday at the bus stop?
Cherish the moments you have with your family, even when you feel tired to the bone?
Realise that we’re all one anyway (whatever that means)?
Get a dog? Hug trees? Meditate?!
All of these things will help, I’m sure, but tell me, will it be enough? Will it be enough to quench your thirst?
This is a question that has puzzled me my entire life. You see, I have a desire to connect, truly connect, with the heart of others, and I’m baffled by how many people will, quite simply, refuse, or show me this faded, acceptable, boring version of themselves.
Hell, I am baffled by the density and height of the walls I have around my own heart.
We all have a desire to connect, to share, to belong, right? Why then are we so afraid? What am I so afraid of? What are you so afraid of?
Why are we allowing ourselves to satisfy the tip, the very edge of our desire for life, with so few miracle moments — do you know the ones I’m talking about?
can you remember when you first laid eyes on your spouse, and you felt your heart suddenly burning with recognition and love?
Can you remember your mother holding you after a nightmare?
Can you remember listening to the ocean, to the beat of your heart, to the stillness of your spirit?
Can you remember a lazy, rainy Sunday afternoon, a steaming cup of tea in your hands, and a really good book in your lap?
Can you remember the last time you felt alive?
Perhaps the answer, then, is to gather to ourselves these moments of grace, to expand our capacity for life, until we burst.
But then again, who has time for this stuff?