Nothing slaps me in the face like someone implying that I have been shoved into the borderlands, the arm’s-length conversation. The weather. Talking about the weather is the Monet print of conversation: palatable to everyone, but completely devoid of any meaning.
These are the conversations we have with strangers. We don’t want to say the wrong thing to someone we don’t really know, and we don’t want to commit any party fouls. We keep things light, inoffensive and non-committal. We talk about weather, tv, music and movies. We most certainly do not talk about politics, religion or the things that have hurt us. It’s our way of keeping polite society and not running around pissing people off 24/7.
The trouble arises when we treat our friends this way. I have had, and know people who have had, friendships based on little more than drinking, playing video games or watching football. I have no problem with those activities, but asking someone to survive solely on those things is like asking someone to live on marshmallows and Pop Tarts. Technically, you could do it…but you’d puke a lot and look like hell. One day, football season ends, the friendship’s basis is gone, and you feel lonely and like you’ve wasted your time. One day, you realize that you’re surrounded by people yet all alone.
I’ve been spoiled.
My friends actually TALK to me.
The communication between two people who have each decided to let the other in is so much more rewarding. You can exchange ideas that might make you think for more than two seconds. Someone brings up a topic, and it gets you thinking for a couple of days. You don’t get that when you talk about the weather. Talking about the weather is like someone saying, “I don’t want you in my brain.” My gut reaction is to be hurt. Not wanting me in your brain implies that you think I’d do something horrible in there, which implies that you think I might be a horrible person. It also implies that you don’t want to be in my brain, which makes me think that you just don’t particularly care about anything I think. If that’s how things are going to go, I tell you this: our lives are too short for that.
I do not wish to live on marshmallows.