This Thing Called Selective Talking
A few days ago, I attended a small literary gathering. There were different kinds of creative and intellectual people with diversity in profession, career-track, writing styles, etc. The things in common being that all were intellectuals and older than me. Much older. This allowed me to freely be curious as I freely asked questions and listened to them answer.
I introduced myself to almost every one there and keenly listened to them. Everything was going well. I was learning important things and getting to know them. After the event ended, I got to talking with a man in his mid 60s — a scholar who had degrees in Buddhism and Geography. I had started the conversation by asking him what his field was. But what followed from him was quite unlike anyone I had spoken to by that time. HE was both boring and anxiety-inducing for me:
He began narrating his biography: Where he was born, how/in what he was educated, how many surgeries he has had, where lives his son, what he studies, etc. etc.
I didn’t want to be rude so I listened. But I got bored. I wanted to walk-off. I wanted him to walk-off. I wanted someone to come and interrupt. I wanted the conversation to end.
The surprising thing was, I do understand that he was speaking of crucial things. In fact, he was providing me important life-lessons through stories of his own personal experiences. He had educated himself in diverse subject matters, so it was supposed to be very important for me to help balance and cope with my own struggles with balancing variety: BUT something was off in him!
‘This person speaks about important things, but it all feels nonsense to me.’
At first I thought it might have been my issue: attention deficiency and all that. But then, I had been listening to more than a dozen other people and none had bored me to such an extent, if at all. All had given brief and solid answers. It had all been enjoyable and impactful.
But then I noticed something: all of them (who didn’t bore me) were either much older than the person who bored me or were much more productive/successful in literature!