Since I was a child I’ve had a special thing for plants. Their sheer diversity and vigor just astonishes me. Animals are unevolved when compared with their greener cousins. Because of this I’ve always had a plant or two around and some I’ve had for almost 20 years (not bad when you consider I’m only 34). Anyway, one of the sidebars in this interest has been a fascination with those plants that despite all our best efforts still manage to find a place our yards. I’ve spent a lot of time in the yard for the 10 years we’ve had a house and I’ve become familiar with a lot of these invaders. At least enough to refer to them by consistent names that I’m about 90% sure are completely wrong: “Bay Tree”, “That thing that I think is a Cornflower”, “That little tiny thing that looks a lot like a raspberry bush.” Yesterday for the first time since in a LONG time I actually bothered to do something to try to familiarize myself with these with a bit more intimacy. I’ve officially promoted several specimens out of the status of ‘weeds.’ This is relatively simple since the moniker of weed is a somewhat arbitrary one and all one need to it dig a weed from the ground and put in a pot to make this simple transition. I’m all atwitter to see what these tiny and durable gnomes grow into with all the care I can give them. Most interesting perhaps to the general populous will be just HOW BIG will a dandelion get if you give it optimal growing conditions? Ironically, I think I may have accidentally killed my first attempt to transplant a dandelion. Those taproots are just too long to make them easily adopted.
The second bit of wind for this post is yet more crap about smalltalk. I’m pretty sure I’ve covered this in some vague way in the past and acknowledged to myself (if not to the blog) that smalltalk, while completely obnoxious to my sensibilities of not wasting words, sadly required. This all came up again because one of my associates from work sent along an interview with the author of “How to work a Room.” Now, anyone who knows me at ALL knows that I’d sooner eat the entire contents of my ‘sharps jar’ in the garage than ‘work a room.’ Despite that, I’m apparently going to obtain and read this book because it has become apparent that this idea of ‘random socializing’ is really the ONLY way to get what I want out of other people. For my entire life (adult or otherwise) I’ve been looking for that “Fred and Barney” (you know, those guys from the Flintstones) type friendship with someone else. And no, not a “Bert and Ernie” type friendship, I think we all know what was going on there. My wife can call up any one of about 4 or 5 people and ask them to go shopping with her. It’s frigging magic of some sort. If I want someone to go to the bookstore with… well, I can probably BEG someone into going if I have to but even the list of people I’d consider begging would be pretty short and 1 of those 2 candidates is my father-in-law.
In a way, it’s deeply frustrating because I’m not entirely certain what the problem is though there are plenty of candidates.
* Am I simply too nerdy for people in this area? That’s highly doubtful as I’ve met some delightfully nerdy people.
* Am I too much of an ass? That’s probably potentially part of it. I am relatively self-absorbed and tend to neglect people in favor of… well, random blog entries and long lists of dry literature.
* Are people in this country just not friendly as they used to be? Perhaps culture has changed so we don’t seek this out as we used to? Perhaps partly but I cannot believe that this is generally the case. The more I see of other people the more I realize we’re all basically the same except for he bells and whistles.
* Have I simply failed to see the right people in the right places and failed to recognize them when I find them? Most assuredly so. This is at least one problem that the smalltalk bit may help with. As a mechanism for sussing out like-minded people smalltalk has no substitute so perhaps making that work is the right answer. At this point though, there just aren’t a whole lot of people about. I work from home. In an average week I talk to exactly 3 adults and they’re all related to me. This should probably change before I go totally mad.
All that said, there is a VERY small contingent of people that still bother to seek me out on a regular basis. Perhaps I should start by being more attentive to them and perhaps they’ll introduce me to all their friends.