I was waiting in line behind a woman. The host tried to see us like we were a couple, but we told him we were both eating alone. We ended up sitting at tables that were right next to each other. Even with my iPod and my Sunday newspaper, I felt like I should still try to talk to her.
Here I should tell everyone that this was my first real human contact of the weekend. From the time I left work on Friday until when I got to the restaurant Sunday morning, I had been alone all weekend. I spent most of Saturday trying to shake off a headache. That meant I slept, Played video games, watched TV and sat around my apartment. It is a funny thing to not have any human contact for 36 hours. It really puts you inside of your own mind.
I was not really preparing to have a conversation when I went to breakfast. I was getting ready to sit and read. Something in side of me told me that I should have a conversation with this woman. It is one thing to not try to have any human contact, but it is another to try to avoid it when it is right in front of you.
I found myself right next to this woman. We ended up have a very strained conversation. I would go as far as saying that I did not have a conversation with her at all. I listed to what she said and spoke in a series of monologues. During the conversation did I didn't feel that I really connected with her. I tried a couple of times, but nothing seemed to click. We seemed to be saying what we wanted to say and then letting the other person speak.
I would like to chalk this up to not being ready to speak to someone else. I would like to say this happened because I was a little out of my head. It would be easy to use these excuses.
Part of me feels that if happened because I can no longer talk to strangers. It feels like it has been a long time since I meet someone and struck up a good conversation with them. I feel that I am too caught up in my own head. I feel that I am more boring then I used to be. I feel distance between myself and the people I am talking to. It makes it hard to just strike up a conversation. There are too many contestants in my head, things I worry a stranger will not understand.
The conversation clunked along for all of breakfast. I did not put my headphones on, but I did read the newspaper a little. I never found that grove. If I found that grove I might have asked the woman for her phone number. Since it did not go well, I just said goodbye.
I am worried that my inability to have a conversation with this woman is the norm for me now. I am worried that every time I talk to a stranger I come off like this. I just noticed it this time. I am worried that this is who I really am. This does not bode well for a single man who does not know any single women. That means even if I meet single women, I have no change to communicate with them.
I swear that I used to be better at this. I used to be good at striking up conversations with anyone and making a connection. I used to be a great conversationalist. I have seem to lost that somewhere.
If Amanda, the woman I had breakfast next to, come across this lets get together for drinks. I think I could have a better conversation at a better time and place. I think that I owe you a better conversation.