I always want to talk people but ask them invasive, personal questions. I’m really bad at that filler stuff, and not in the “I suck at it but do my best and it’s passable” sort of way. I overhear conversations all the time, perhaps I’m nosey, and marvel at how often people can force words out of their mouth without really saying much of anything. It’s annoying in an envious sort of way. I usually choose a side and pretend I’m in the conversation. Each response beyond hi, is baffling to me. My go to example was when a friend and I were out to lunch and an old friend of his saw us. She walked up and said hi. They did the whole “what have you been up to?” thing and she said something about hairdressing. Now, immediately, I was 100% out of the conversation. I don’t have anything against hairdressers, but that isn’t an interest and nothing about it is for me. My friend feels the same exact way – I know because he told me so after – but he talked about hairdressing for a good 15 minutes, asked all sorts of questions, and seemed genuinely interested to the point where I thought he might be hanging up the guitar and enrolling in hair school. I literally just stared, the entire time.
What would I have said if I could have said anything? I would have asked if cutting hair gives this person’s life meaning. Or if it’s a means to some other end that will lead to meaning and fulfillment.
I’m not entirely sure why one of my first thoughts is, if you were your own grandchild, would you give a shit about the story of your life? It’s not so much about legacy, it’s about the fact that I want the people I care about to think i did something worthwhile because I value their judgment.
One reason I think I wonder is because I’m looking for different roads to take to meaning. I’m on this one in which philosophers and scientists and artists talk about meaning all over the place, but the average person walking down the street, cutting hair, styling hair, coloring hair and whatever else you can do to hair, I don’t know what those people think about meaning. If they care, though I bet they do, and how they approach fulfillment. If it’s borne out through material objects or spiritual beliefs or worthy activities. Family, friends, goals, activities, ideas, beliefs. I’d like to know how many ways there are to get to the good life.