Talk To Somebody
Have you ever seen Pulp Fiction? It’s an entertaining movie, and you should absolutely see it. There’s a special scene in that movie that is relevant to this point. There’s this couple at Jack Rabbit Slims, but the thing is…they’re not really a couple. John Travolta who plays Vincent Vega is a charismatic thug and Uma Thurman who plays Mia Wallace is the big boss’s wife. To him, she being the big boss’s wife and all…she’s out of reach, theoretically at least, but he kind of likes her and she likes him. But they don’t know each other, so there’s a lot of gaps in the conversation and more than a few points of awkward silence. Well as much silence as you can get in a 60s-themed dance bar. Then, in the middle of an awkward silence, she says, “Don’t you hate that?” “What?” he says. “Uncomfortable silences. Why do we feel it’s necessary to yak about bullshit in order to be comfortable?” She pauses, “That’s when you know you’ve found somebody special. When you can just shut the (…) up for a minute and comfortably enjoy the silence.”
And that says it all for me. She’s right, I remember the first time I saw that scene and still think the same way today. It is not necessary to be talkative. Most of the time it’s just small talk, people just trying to keep the conversation going, because we don’t tolerate silence well. Being alone with your thoughts it’s hard…and fun, joyful, stressful, all kinds of feelings. Most people will talk to just kill the silence, talking about whatever comes to mind.
All of us feel the need to talk to others about what’s important to us, but often times we don’t know how or to whom we should talk. But every now and then we can find someone to open up to. The life lesson that took me too long to figure out is sometimes these deeper conversations can begin with a little small talk. Philosophy, at least the Greek one, starts with dialogue, which is required in order to discover or achieve knowledge. We are not alone- that we are not islands but rather, are part of a larger community- humanity is a big family of human beings. So then why is it so hard to talk to people sometimes?
Unfortunately, the irony of this post for me is that I am writing this at a point in my own life when I am relatively isolated. I would be totally disconnected from the outside world if it weren’t for my girlfriend. I am thankful for her help and I am glad I was more adventurous when I was in Florida.
What did the trick? I knew that I couldn’t go all the way to Florida just to be quiet all the time. I didn’t want to go there and stay in my dorm. Traveling someplace else new is a chance to improve yourself because no one knows you. They don’t know if you’re an introvert or an extrovert. You have a chance to make a lot of first impressions. A lot of great history lies within strangers all around you. A potential good friend could be in the coffee bar next to you, a good laugh, an interesting idea, topic and/or conversation. Who are we to deprive ourselves from the others? We won’t learn anything from closing ourselves off in our rooms.
In my college there’s the possibility of graduating by just taking classes on the internet. This is intended for people who can’t make it to school for whatever reason, but they are missing the incredible experience of engaging with your classmates. And that happens outside school as well. Engaging people goes beyond those in your peer group. It´s not gratuitous folk wisdom that says one should listen to their elders. Potentially, all the people in the world know something you don’t, and vice versa.
We should take our chances and try to improve ourselves through others, get the most of a trip and talk to the locals, smile and listen. The best thing someone said to me in Tallahassee was that I really listened. He said that most of the people in town didn’t do that anymore. Which is sad. Silent people like me enjoy listening to people: the ones who have something to say, who talk with their soul rather than their brains, that really live and breathe, who scream when they scared and shout when they’re happy, that never get you bored and who make you laugh. Most of all, those who aren’t afraid to say what they really think, who are desirous of living and willing to really live.