Dear Diary

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Minna dreamed of meat. Dylan had a summer fling. And more.

Naomi

I go on walks almost every day, usually listening to my iPod (sometimes pretending I am in a film—we all do it). My favourite things about my walks are the people I see. Sometimes there are very strange people. Recently I saw a woman talking to herself and I smiled, because I hadn’t seen a good old-fashioned talking-to-themselves person in a while (let me remind you that I live in a smallish town in England). But every now and again I come across someone who looks so interesting that they qualify as a “missed connection.”

Missed connections are those people that you feel you’d like to know, but you can’t work up the nerve to approach them, and so you will literally never see them again, probably in your whole life. If you think about the intricacies of all of the people in the world and all of the delicate lines connecting them for a moment here or there every single day—I mean, it takes only a second to look at someone as you walk by and then that’s it. That is the extent of your connection. There are so many seconds to fill in your life but there are also so many people in the world. It seems dizzyingly unlikely that you will ever cross paths with this person again. If you’d left the house a few seconds later you wouldn’t have even seen them in the first place. It all seems rather final and it upsets me.

To be specific: this week I was out walking and I decided to stop by the library. Outside the building I noticed someone I’d seen before. A leather-clad guy holding a motorcycle helmet, standing near a motorcycle. He was sort of normal-looking and I might not have noticed him if I hadn’t remembered I’d seen him before. I have a sort of fascination with motorcycles and those who ride them. I’d like to either learn to drive one myself or just have a motorcycle-riding boyfriend (I am not sure Mum would approve of either option).

Now, if this guy likes both books (library) and motorcycles (motorcycle), I suspect he is a pretty cool guy. I wanted badly to ask him about his bike, but I didn’t. Of course I didn’t. I left without saying a word.

What do normal people do in these situations? I sort of turn to mush in most kinds of social contact with complete strangers. Do people actually try and make conversation? Generally the most I can muster is a smile. I can’t imagine actually talking to any of the people I see every day, because just seeing someone and not knowing them, you paint a picture in your head of who they are. Maybe your idea of them it is better than the reality.

And when I think about a lot of social situations, I can only imagine how I’d ruin them, or how awkward I’d feel. But maybe in this case the reality isn’t as bad as the picture in my head, and maybe I just need practice. I think it comes down to being ridiculously scared of being embarrassed.

If I do manage to start a conversation with a complete stranger and it is successful (or if it goes horribly wrong) I’ll let you know. ♦

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22 Comments

  • Angie Bitchface September 28th, 2011 7:28 PM

    Dylan — I can’t believe you even let him come over, let alone put up with his annoying shit for days. I can’t imagine hooking up with someone I had no feelings for (all the times I have I’ve been extremely drunk, haha)

    Naomi — I’d say that about half the time random people who you fall in platonic-love with turn out to be even more awesome than you thought they would be, and about half the time they turn out to be totally disappointing.

    Katherine — I know how you feel about being “out of place.” in high school and the first year and a half or so of college I was kind of ashamed to even be in public, that’s how much I hated myself. once your hormones stop raging though you’ll start feeling MUCH better about yourself. you’re definitely right about that the other girl probably feels bad about herself too…have you ever seen that episode of My So-Called Life?

  • puffytoad September 28th, 2011 7:31 PM

    Katherine-
    I don’t belong anywhere either! OMG I too feel like people can tell I don’t belong just by looking at me.

  • puffytoad September 28th, 2011 7:32 PM

    Who is Minna and what variety of meat did she dream about?

  • natalie September 28th, 2011 8:08 PM

    Naomi: ah you are just me, in an other body. Your whole entry was a giant gpoy to me.

  • Jamie September 28th, 2011 8:25 PM

    Dylan I think you totally did the right thing. Sometimes you are just over a phase in your life and you have to take the initiative to move on, even if it feels shitty. I had a boyfriend from like, January through August and I dumped him in August and felt better about it, but also like a huge asshole because we had that same giant disconnect about what our relationship even was.

    The feeling passes. <3333

  • Jamie September 28th, 2011 8:29 PM

    @Katherine- I hate pep rallies. one time in my high school the cheerleaders and the football players made an effigy/puppet thing of the other school’s mascot and proceeded to beat the crap out of it in the middle of the gym floor. all of the teachers just nodded and were generally gung-ho about it. it felt so brainwashey to me.

    I can’t manufacture pep for an institution that i was arbitrarily assigned to based on my address.

  • junebuglove September 28th, 2011 10:13 PM

    Katherine- At least you have a place to go when you have pep rallies. I have to sit on the gross bleachers with kids shooting spit-balls into my hair and kids poking me in the sides so i jump. Also we don’t have a basement so when I kinda start to cry in class I have to go to the bathroom and be that girl that always cries in the bathroom.

  • lauren September 29th, 2011 1:06 AM

    Katherine, I absolutely love this piece. Especially your conclusion. I may have to steal this sort of idea for my english assignment :) thanks for being awesome.

  • viciouscirce September 29th, 2011 9:37 AM

    I like how you have a tag just for “meat”!

  • jeanette September 29th, 2011 2:05 PM

    Naomi – I live in England too (South-East London) and I feel the same way about how disconnected everyone is with each other here. When I get a smile back in the street, I’m so surprised let alone having them talk to me.. I see cool people and I just think about how I’d like to know more about them instead of actually working up the courage to find out. I’m gonna try and speak up to them as well!

  • Naomi September 29th, 2011 2:06 PM

    i’ve never had meat dreams, probably because i am a vegetarian.

  • Whatsername September 29th, 2011 3:03 PM

    Oh my god, Naomi’s article totally hit home. I’m like, freaking out. I see so many people who remind me of myself that I just NEED to talk to but I just know if I try to talk to them I’ll fuck something up. I always feel like I’m missing out on something for not meeting people.

    @Dylan, I feel so bad for that guy! What an awkward misunderstanding.

    • Naomi September 29th, 2011 3:45 PM

      yes! it’s the missing out feeling i hate the most

  • puffytoad September 29th, 2011 3:43 PM

    @Naomi I’m a vegetarian and I just had a dream last night that I accidentally took a big bite of beef. I kept trying to spit it out but there was always more left! I definitely think that dream was inspired by this post.

    I’m still wondering if I’m the only one who doesn’t see anything written about meat dreams here though…

    • Naomi September 30th, 2011 7:03 AM

      haha, that’s amazing!

    • Anaheed October 6th, 2011 2:57 AM

      @puffytoad: Take another look at Minna’s entry…

  • back2thepast September 29th, 2011 10:56 PM

    Naomi: I swear that the best couples in the movies always meet for the first time at some random coffee shop or something coincidental like that. But when normal people walk into a coffee shop and see some hipster reading a novel and sipping a latte, we don’t approach them and say, “My name is __ and I’d like to know you.” If only we were all so social! Even at school I ignore people. I will see someone that I basically pass every day and not say a word. Because you’ve inspired me, I will write myself a goal-reminder on my hand: say hi to that really tall guy that I pass on my way to English.

    • Naomi September 30th, 2011 7:04 AM

      do it! i’ll try and say hi to someone too

  • back2thepast September 30th, 2011 7:06 PM

    Hahahaha I did it! I had a conversation with my school locker neighbor! I told him I liked his hair, cuz today it was all spiked up in the center and his fringe was nicely flared out. Then we ended up chatting for 5 minutes after school. He’s a nice kid! He’s in a group labeled ‘the druggies’ (even though half of them have never even seen a drug before) but he’s really sweet! Maybe we’ll talk again tomorrow :]

  • Margarita September 30th, 2011 9:13 PM

    @Naomi: I feel that way too, except with a certain person in school. We barely talk, but he seems like a really cool person. Hopefully one day I’ll have the courage to try and strike a conversation with him!