Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
I’m staring at Facebook.
Wondering, out of the 94 people that are on the friends list, how many of them do I talk to?
How many of those friends have I neglected? How many have I not gotten to know better?
Would any of them pick up, if I were to call them? What would I say to them?
There are 94 unique individuals on that list. Each with their own desires, needs, wants and personalities.
How well do I know them?
My mind says, I know them enough.
Enough to remember their names. Recall their faces.
The particular way how they pronounce words.
Their style of walking. Their style, clothes and accessories.
I can even recall how they laugh and how they react to me.
But is that all there is to a human being? Is that all I need to call them a friend, to be familiar with them?
My heart says, no.
I can’t help but feel the art of conversation inside of me is … dead. Whatever happened to proper discussion? What happened to lengthy text posts? Why is it all so lazy?
And … Have I really gone so far, as to discuss why I am such a bad conversationalist with myself instead of with another actual human being?
I can always place blame on social media. The conversations I have with those I do keep in contact with on Facebook, are mostly memes. I find something that amuse them, share it and we have a quick back and forth before ignoring each other again.
The fact that it is so low maintenance, so utterly forgettable, and such a quick pro quo, and this is for someone who I actually want to talk to …
Makes it quite sad in retrospect.
This is not even mentioning, the 90 other people who I don’t even bother doing that to either. I have gotten so slack, so undeniably lazy that even with people I place greater stock in than the rest, I don’t put any real effort in.
There are so many times, when I would see other 90 people’s names, and wonder how they are doing, but never bother to click on the little bubble and genuinely ask them.
Am I afraid of them, that somehow it would be strange to ask out of the blue? Or am I too lazy to care anymore?
I wonder which is the worse question.
But I can’t really blame social media. I can’t pin all my ills on Facebook and claim that, that website is the reason why my conversation skills suck.
Social media is just a tool. How you use it and be defined by it, is your choice alone.
So if I choose to be friendly, open up conversations with the other 90 people on that friends list, I run into another common excuse.
What do I talk to them about?
The answer to that, is frankly, quite obvious. I just need to recall what we share or liked together and go off that common ground.
However, this is where my personal and professional life clash.
I have spent so long being a leader, being a boss, that I have genuinely forgotten to ask what are a lot of my friends’ interests actually are.
Because of that attitude, I am certain that is why everyone treats me like a leader, not a true friend. I am not someone that they can call upon for help or hang out regularly.
Nor a person that they can have a long, sparkling discussion about interesting subjects because … we don’t have subjects to discuss about in common.
What a sad realisation I’ve just had.
In a lot of ways, I can’t help but feel that a lot of my “friendships” are a lot like the iconic scene from Blade Runner 2049 (2017) … a facsimile of real connections.
A sensation of me reaching out, and seeing all there is to my friends, but instead touching nothing but thin air.
Aware of all things physical, but unable to truly comprehend the metaphysical.
There is a terrible loneliness that has come with this understanding. The idea that I’ve met so many people, but never really found out a key tenet of their personality, is such a loss on my part.
Meeting people and finding out more about them, should be an exciting and novel prospect. I should be more receptive to the idea about engaging with people on a deeper level, instead of sticking to shallow topics.
Questions about the weather, work and daily life, should be swapped for more personal explorations, open invitations to discuss and interesting hypothetical(s).
A good conversationalist should remain interesting and be interested if they ask and answer everything with a certain light gravitas.
It may be exhausting, it might be tiresome and no doubt it can and will be a turn-off at times, but is it not always better to show effort than display none?
There are billions of people on this planet, six-thousand years of civilisation and the two of those combined, give anyone a trillion things to discuss, from how an Archaeopteryx fossil became the face of a Canadian outdoor company, Arc’teryx to why Google is called Google.
A good conversationalist, is a curious person from the start.
A person who asks why instead of how and is happy to create thousands of why for something, as outlandish as they might be.
Which leads to another personal revelation … I’ve lost my sense of curiosity.
I lost sight of what makes my life interesting. I think, feel and believe like I know everything that happens in my circle. No-one presses my button, no-one disagrees with me, no-one wants to discuss things with me.
So I get complacent. I feel I am the Alpha and Omega of my little world.
But that simply isn’t true. I could ask my girlfriend better questions. I could check up on my friends and see if they need help. I could this, I could that.
I could actually be curious about my friends and the people I know.
What a novel concept.
What If, Damocles was actually curious about the world again?
To that, I say …