Thursday, September 24, 2015

Zen and the Art of Squirrel - People

People scare me.

Not in the sense that I am going to hide in the basement and never come out or talk to anyone.  It is just that people I do not know scare me.

Once I know who people are and have a faint memory of things that we have in common I am fine, but you will not find I am that type of person who is going to start talking to someone at a bar, or introduce myself.

In general I would often prefer not to talk at all.  If I am with people that I know and I feel comfortable, and maybe a bit manic, then you cannot shut me up.

But people I do not know scare me, at least talking to them.

I do photography as a hobby, I am actually pretty good at it, although I am breaking from the mold and shooting live concerts with manual lenses on a modern digital body.  I think that sometimes I am trying for a super-hipster merit badge or something.  The truth is that I have issues with technology and I prefer things that just work.

As a result of this I will often end up at shows in the front row, on the edge of the stage, sometimes back stage, or in the security area up front.  However I am anonymous in front of hundreds of people.  I don’t have to speak to them.  I am just the guy taking pictures.

I hate writing captions.  Are people going to take offense to something I write on a caption?  I have now gotten away from doing captions.

I write an unrelated story instead.  The pictures are already worth a thousand words, why would they need more.

I am afraid of people, talking to people, speaking in front of people.

Ironically if you came to me and asked me to explain to a group how a geologic formation was formed on the fly I would not likely have any issue, but that is one of my strong areas.

If you really want to see me lock up ask me how I feel.  Especially when there is someone of the opposite sex involved.

A long time ago, and far away I was in one of those relationship type things.  It was becoming strained though, partially because of communication issues.

I have never been much for that communication thing.

But I was trying to make one work, even if it was a mostly fruitless effort.  Somehow or another managed to hold it together for a little while.  But, like I said, things were becoming strained.  I had some things that were really starting to aggravate me, but I could not effectively communicate what these things were to my partner.

Finally she told me to just go and write it down and email it to her.

This actually worked, I did not have to look at her face and try to determine what a facial expression meant.  I really don’t get much out of facial expressions anyway, I can only get the obvious ones.

The email things did work and extended the relationship out for a little while.  It still failed, although that had a lot to do with just general incompatibility.  We had different paths, and after a cooling off period we remained friends for the next several years.

It is not that I do not have feelings for people, I just have no clue what an appropriate way to express them is.  The end result is that I keep a lot of things inside.

No one can hurt you if you never give anyone a chance.

Except that you are hurting yourself be never giving yourself a chance either.

I can disseminate facts and figures until the cows come home.  I can have fluid conversations on topics that many people can only somewhat grasp.

Often I don’t want to though.  I keep my mouth shut a lot when I am out.

I can go hours in a bar and never speak.  I don’t even need to speak to get a beer, although sometimes I would prefer coffee.

I think that if I ever had to take a vow of silence, which is unlikely since I am, at heart, a militant atheist,  it would not be that hard.  Zen has its own reward, and Zen is a state that is not pinned upon the existence of some fuzzy-wuzzy sky daddy.

I find my zen in many places. 

Not all of the places I find my zen are the ones you would expect.

I am far from my zen when I am trying to talk to people.

I am close to my zen when I am talking to no one.

At another time in my life, just post-divorce.  My general line as a response to the “you were married?” question is that I got better.   Was having a little trouble sleeping.  Well if you consider basically skipping sleep in the month of October a little trouble sleeping.

For some odd reason I frequently have horrible insomnia in October.

I would go out and look for places where I could relax and think.  I bundled myself up one day and drove to the pier on the Wisconsin side of the harbor and watched the sun come up over the lake.  There were clouds, and a few stinging snow flurries, but the sun rising over the lake was a sight to see.

Then I went home so I could go to work a few hours later.

It was a very bad month.

But I watched the sun come up and did not speak a word for hours.  I tried to clear all thought from my mind.  I did a pretty good job of it.

When the sun first breaks over the lake it is incredibly bright, or at least it seems incredibly bright.

It is actually filtering through a lot more atmosphere so it is dimmer that it will be later in the day, but since it was night and the stars were out previously, it makes it seem extremely bright.

I did not speak to anyone and it was divine.

Because people scare me.


People scare me a lot more than they should.


Copyright Jeff Harrison - 2015  All rights reserved.

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