Saturday, November 28, 2009

Small City Life

Today I went to the gym to swim. As I was in the locker room getting dressed after, a woman I'd never seen in my life said," Hi! How are you?" in a very familiar tone. Maybe she mixed me up with someone. Maybe she was weird.

I replied with some general chit-chat that cost me nothing- waiting for her to realize that I wasn't the friend she was thinking of, but nothing changed as we went on chit-chatting. She asked me how my Thanksgiving was, and I replied. Again, it cost me nothing to talk to her, I wasn't revealing any personal traceable details, but I was telling her the truth and the conversation was more in depth than the usual stranger talk. She asked me if I had any kids, and that's when I realized that she wasn't mixing me up with anyone. As she talked, she seemed perfectly normal, just very friendly. Apparently, she just didn't like being in close proximity (and naked) with a stranger and intentionally ignoring each other.

It was nice, actually. I'm an extrovert, so I feel uncomfortable being in someones presence for extended periods and avoiding eye contact. I like to at LEAST acknowledge the other human being with a smile or nod. On the other hand, I have lived in bigger cities enough to be uncomfortable with starting up a conversation about personal stuff with a stranger. During my postdoc overseas, silence in each others' presence (and no eye contact) was the norm, even with people you worked with. Frankly, it was cold socially and lonely for me, but I adjusted to it. Looks like I need to re-adjust to life here in "strangerless" land.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds nice... as long as it's not too nosy or gossipy there.