Most of the business… I need to be more careful, or less naive, when I talk to people. Otherwise it’s water over the dam.
But there is the leftover problem with my friend (I’ll go ahead and say her name is Mariel, now that we’re out of the storm), which I don’t know what to do with—or, no, practically I do know. I asked her about it. She does have trouble with confrontations—expressing disagreement, talk that might be uncomfortable. Even with her brother, she says.
Which has to mean that the part that’s my job is that I have to avoid putting her in a box, or cornering her, or… pick your expression. If a person can’t speak, you don’t put them in a position where there’s things they can’t say.
Which means that certain kinds of conversations are not things I should be looking for with her—disputatious ones, or ones that risk that.
Which is a curious situation. But she’s my friend, an old one, a very good one although we’ve been out of touch for long gaps. And I really wasn’t already in a philosophy or debating society with her.
I’ll give what works.
Conceivably I’ve talked too much to friends in general—or more like too early.
Maybe I’ve gotten to be a better writer. Maybe I was a good writer in the past, sometimes… but you’d never know it by looking at a lot of the entries from OD—and you’d surely never know it from a lot of the endless emails I’ve sent friends over the years. (Those poor friends!)
You can write well, and clearly, and informatively when you’re presenting thoughts that are in final or definite form.
But I’ve had this habit over the years of whiteboarding my thoughts as I was trying to figure them out. Just telling people what I was wrestling with as I wrestled with it, on the page. Reviewing the results, I almost feel as if that was indecent exposure. Maybe it was good for me. Maybe it developed ideas that later I could say short. But, in looking through my old sent emails trying to find where I’ve talked about something, I make myself shudder. I’m looking at interest itself when it’s still banging its head against walls… and it is a most unreassuring lunatic. And very commonly—the worst part—it’s difficult to read. :-)
(Where this came from was that there was an old story that I was going to put in here, that involved Hurricane Katrina and the idea of those unusual houses called earthships, that I am sure I have written out in full before. I did not find it.)
Should other people be interested in whatever I am? My friend Christy has thought that I think this.
It’s an interesting question, because it doesn’t quite translate across for me. I think people in general should be interested in everything, because I sort of tend to be…
… which is not really true. But what’s behind it is something Christy thought was interesting, when I said it to her last night on the phone:
I don’t trust my own lacks of interest.
I really don’t.
They’re not intelligently chosen. They’re just dead spaces. And one thing I don’t think is that my lacks of interest are justified; I am more likely to think that a lack of interest is where something could be sneaking up on me.
Insecurity, maybe. Part of the ADD working-memory humility at gunpoint, it’s likely; I can never rely on having everything in my head that I should.
But it affects how I think of everyone’s interests and lack of. And certainly it makes sense as a background contributor to the “On lack of interest” piece I included in here back a ways.
It adds up to a floating assumption that anyone could be interested in anything.
Christy says that hearing that made her understand me a little more than she had.
She herself has had problems with my habits in this respect; she is off in the opposite direction—she stands up for her lacks of interest in a way that has puzzled me. Not just with me. Recommendations bother her, and energetic ones really do. “Why do you think I need to be interested in that?” is a question I’ve frequently gotten.
I don’t know, Christy. Really, I don’t know.
Last updated October 25, 2014