Humans are funny creatures. We co-exist in our own family units, only interacting with those we love, those we work with, and those we have to. There is the odd human (and i use the term “odd” lightly – because they are rare, not because they are weird) who goes beyond that, making conversation with strangers on a daily basis. But for the most part, we keep to ourselves, don’t we?
I am a shy person by nature – it takes me a while to warm to people, and I often don’t speak unless spoken to. I hardly ask questions and I get nervous easily. I find lifts awkward. Everyone looks at the floor, walls or level buttons, but not at each other. And if someone is brave enough to break the silence, it’s like, wow, what just happened?! No-one knows where to look or if they should respond.
The same sitch can be found at any given public transport stop, or on public transport itself. I have been known in my time to wear headphones even when I’m not listening to any music, just so randos won’t talk to me. Is that bad? I don’t have a problem talking to new people, but it’s just awkward, isn’t it? And I’m not really sure why that is. Am I scared they might want a full-blown convo? Or is it because they might be a serial killer in disguise? Either way, I find it suspicious.
Like today, I was enjoying my lunch on a park bench by the river. There are about four or five large benches with a decent space between each one. The bench closest to mine was available, but the rest were taken up. Two guys were approaching, one from each direction. One was going to get the spare bench, and the other – chairless. So he asked if he could share my bench. Fine by me, but how weird is that?! We each sat and ate our lunch in silence, until he stood up to get a napkin from his pocket and sat back down on his empty sushi tray. We laughed and I checked to make sure his caboose was clean, and when he left he made a joke about how hard it was to go back to work after sitting in the sun, and that he hoped the rest of my day goes well. If i were a braver gal, i may have talked to him some more, but you never know the other persons deal, do u? I like to sit quietly and eat my food without being disturbed, where others talk loudly the entire time, filling in any empty space with their conversation. Each to their own, but how do we break free of this feeling that all strangers need to be kept as such?
Really, they’re just people we havent met yet.