"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Is it just New Jersey?

I think we live in a type of society where people are afraid to talk to each other (as strangers). I think we want to talk to each other. We have things to say. We want to tell the random stranger walking by that their skirt looks pretty or they look nice, or comment about the book they are reading, or even just randomly talk about the weather to a random passerby. I hate that we live in a world now that if a stranger strikes a random conversation, most people (not all) automatically go into guard + defense mode. They automatically think that that stranger wants something. They clutch their valuables tighter. They give short, polite responses.

It's like being friendly to strangers beyond the norm is considered strange. Maybe it's just a united states up-north thing but people here are just so used to keeping to themselves and that's that. Or maybe it's just me. I don't think so, though. I observe a lot of people (when I should be studying) and notice this.

For example, I am in B & N today (shocker!) and they have a greeter at the door saying hello, how are you to everyone. If I weren't busy writing papers and studying for my final, I would conduct a study right now. So far I have seen 3 main groups.
1) the polite people that greet him back and ask how he is.
2) the people that smile at the greet but keep walking and don't answer (usually me)
3) people that look at him very funny and think he is strange and don't want to talk to him or they are afraid of him
4). (I thought of another group)- people that don't know what to do so they decide to completely ignore him and keep walking-staring straight ahead.

Isn't it interesting? People are so interesting. And funny.

A mother trailing two kids just walked by and he asked how they were and the kids answered and The mother pulled them away and told them not to speak to strangers, and proceeded to completely ignore him.

The other night me and my friend were getting gas and it was freezing (literally) outside and the poor gas guy (I live in jersey- it's full service here) was bored and struck up a conversation with us about the weather, our truck, gas prices, you name it. Upon leaving we both looked at each other because we both thought it was highly unusual and strange that this person had talked to us about something other than what type o gas we wanted.

Guys, listen. Around the U.S, fellow new jerseyians, Europeans, around the world, anyone that reads this: answer me this- what are people like where you are? Is it common or unusual to strike random conversations with strangers? Do people keep to themselves? Tell me about your people, I'm extremely curious! And to fellow tri-staters, am I the only one that notices this or do you guys agree?

Very interested :-) I should have been a sociology major...

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