I connected with an old pal way back from high school through a brief Facebook chat. I initiated the conversation by admiring what he posted on his wall – a nice, digitally drawn picture of his son. He really had these artistic skills within him even when we were still in high school.
“Nice work bro,” I typed. “You really are an artist.”
“Yeah. I’ve thought of doing this long before and I’ve done it finally.”
“Well, me too, I thought I couldn’t write again. I think I finally came in touch with my artistic side.”
I thought he’d be interested also in reading what I have written, so I asked him, “Do you read blogs?”
I’m quite certain that he got my last question but maybe he wasn’t into answering it. Instead he replied:
“I wasn’t able to do that using Photoshop so I used Corel instead. By the way, do you know someone selling a Cannon camera? Mine is already broken.”
“No one personal” I replied just to appear polite. I wanted none of it anymore so I clicked the “X” button on his chat window to end the small talk immediately. I didn’t bother to insist. Why should I? After all, he may not be one of those who really have the interest to read blogs.
The chat was supposed to be pleasantries but I got a little crossed. He just didn’t care for what I want to say. I gave him credit for his art work, but why didn’t he take time to listen to my story as well? Mine was a genuine commendation, but why wasn’t he able to even fake an enthusiasm to lend an ear?
Maybe it’s human nature. When praised, people will elaborate their success stories instead of giving back the same effort to look into what other people are doing. And besides, it was “me” who started the talk about “his” talent and maybe that “should” have been the focus of our conversation. Suits him.
It’s with these kinds of stimuli that I often get pissed talking to people. All they want to talk about is themselves. Why can’t people just shut up and listen sometimes?
Well, it’s not all bad news. What makes life a lot more bearable is the thought that not all people are voracious and egocentric talkers. This is the one thing I love about my wife. She has this innate listening skill which had been nurtured and reinforced through education and actual application. She has this talent to really “listen” without any judgment. To “just” listen. I think there are only a handful of such people whom you will get to know in your lifetime.
That’s one of the reasons that I started this blog. I have a lot of things I want to say and I don’t want to be interrupted halfway on my speech. Thank heavens for technology. What’s so good with the internet is that it gives you the freedom to shout to the world to virtually anyone what’s up in your mind, without the possibility of interruption in between your raving, preaching and musings – in the hope that someone somewhere will connect with you and listen (or “read” you).
I am funny. My wit is damn good and my satire subtle. Sadly though, it only works with my wife. Others would probably just look at me with a silent “huh” and the infuriating “duh” and think that I am just a dunce who doesn’t know how to engage people. It’s very frustrating trying to connect with someone who you think is very approachable and yet who is trying to keep distance from you when you approach; a crowd where you want to be a part of but is trying to be a greater mystery than women’s ways and behavior. I’m sure I have a good hygiene and I’m damn sure that I don’t stink like shit!
Have I really evolved into someone who is ultra-weird and super-impossible to get along with?
When I crack my jokes which I think is subtle and witty, my wife would always crack up (I believe not just to show her undying support). When I do this to people other than friends, it feels damn awkward. It’s as if they’re still trying to connect the dots and trying to figure out where the hell did that joke come from. I’ve been working double time to improve my delivery but to no avail. I always end up feeling like a comedian being hurled with tomatoes on stage.
I’m trying hard not to appear like a sex maniac or a pervert but I don’t know why anything tinted “green” had been an icebreaker with potential drinking buddies (fingers crossed!)
Like the one in front of me in the office where I work. He’s a senior CAD technician. I think he is about 5 to 10 years older than I am. He is good and light-natured, as if the sun never sets in his horizon. Just one keyword and it bridged the way to a conversation: sauna bath. Ok, I’ve never been to one yet but I won’t pretend that I don’t know what happens in a sauna bath. Don’t ask me what and don’t pretend that you don’t know!
That’s a common language for guys like us: women, sports, and drinks. Well not all of us. There are a lot of people I know who disengage themselves when the three items are being discussed (except for the ladies of course, I don’t converse with dames with those topics). “Whoa man I’m a cultured kind, I’m outta here!” Well, can’t blame ‘em. Sometimes I ask myself, am I the lord of perverts that it’s very easy and automatic for me to talk about these things without any qualms whatsoever? Am I too vulgar or are they just overly reserved? Or perhaps they’re not really interested at all.
Blame it on genetics (I thank it sometimes although I must admit that there are times that I’m loathing it), psychology, upbringing, or whatnot. I don’t have the necessary experience to become the guy everybody wants to be friends with. I believe in free will but I still have that notion that there was a conspiracy between all the circumstances then and now that led me to the man that I am today.
Not that I regret all the end result of what transpired ever since I came out from my mother’s womb. The seemingly sorry situations paved the way for me to be the structural design engineer that I am today. I love my profession. Aside from being the career that I want to grow old in, in structural design you spend your time mostly analyzing, reading, and calculating. Seldom do we speak to one another except for clarifications on codes and theories. Serves me right.
If there are a lot of people who don’t want to listen, fine. I still believe that somewhere, there are also a lot of people reading this (hopefully), nodding in agreement with me and sharing the same fate as mine. I can observe. I can write what I observe, and I can entertain myself and others with my observations. We’ll have the last laugh.