Friday, April 14, 2006


OYM! I heard that a lot on my mission...Open Your Mouth. I didn't have a hard time with this (If you know me you're laughing because you already know this). In fact I absolutely love talking to people and better yet, I love listening to what people have to say.

So I know this is obvious but I want to go on a little tirade about human interaction and communication. We have so many ways of communicating these days: cell phones, email, IM, letters, tv, etc. The recent trend is to find ways in which to have less and less human interaction. Now don't get me wrong, before I get on my soap box (that was for Amy and Micheal Adam), I am a fan of the email/cell phone communication. I do like to talk to people the "fast way", but I love talking to people the good old fashion way-face to face.
So you all know that I really don't like talking on the phone, but I really like to talk. I find this is true in other social settings. Take the Subway/Buses here in Boston. Now, people really do like talking to other people- we like and need human interaction-but place people together on public transportation and it's as if we all have the plaque. Case in point: Today when I went to get on Bus 71 on my way to work I noticed something very interesting. There was a person in just about ever seat and next to every person there was an empty seat. So there I was, basically 2 choices, either take the last seat with an empty seat next to me or actually brave sitting next to someone. I chose the later and actually got a very strange look from the lady I sat next to. Eventually people were forced to sit next to each other-but heaven forbid actually talking- no way.
This is my daily routine. Get on the bus, nobody talks, everyone is either reading a book or listening to music (via headphones...can we get any more removed from society than that?). Get off the bus , get on the T and repeat! People sitting next to total strangers, people staring at each other, but never speaking, people so caught up in their own problems and world that they can't be bothered by anyone else around them. Get off the T and walk to my office with all these people bustling around me, but not saying anything. Go to work. Talk to people via phone and email (even if they are in the office next to mine). Spend the day behind a computer. Walk back to the T and so forth. For someone who needs social and human interaction as much as I do this can only last for so long.
So I decided to play a game. I don't have an Ipod (so that gets rid of the headphones thing), I get sick when I read while in motion (thus the book things doesn't work so well), and so there's just me and all the rest of the people surrounding me. And this brings us back to the beginning OYM.
I decided that I would make a game out of meeting at least one person everyday. This means that I actually have to break the sound barrier sometimes and TALK. This seems very silly, but I have gotten a few funny looks by just asking someone how they are doing or what their name is. I do have to say that in the few moments I spend getting to know a little about my "target" for the day makes all the difference.
I'm working on short interesting and to the point questions that I can get a lot of details from a person in a short amount of time. If you have any suggestions please send them my way. It's amazing how much people really do want to talk to you, how much they have to say, and how much you never knew that you really wanted to know about them.
This game has trickled over into other areas of my life. There's a man who I see everyday outside South Station that I talk to a little here and there, I haven't asked him his name yet, but I will, there's a homeless lady that sits outside my office and I drop money in her cup once in a while and she smiles, I hope to have a great conversation with her one of these days. BRT, right? Taking the time to let others share themselves with you.
So I know that I've gone on and on and so I will end this with my "target" of the day today...Seth. I knew it was him because he was just sitting there looking so out of place. I actually got nervous because there were only a few people on the T and it was dead silent. So I just finally asked him if he was a photographer. He had this really nice camera around his neck, a backpack with sleeping bag and bed roll. He said that he was coming in from NH to see his brother crew tomorrow. He wanted to get some pictures of his brother (side note- I really want to see a crew race on the Charles). we chatted a little more and then I stopped talking. It was silent for a few more minutes and then he started asking me questions. It wasn't life changing things we talked about , but was life changing. In just a few moments I met Seth and the chances of me ever seeing him again are slim to none- but we connected.
I love the game, I love the challenge it gives me everyday to branch out, I love knowing I have so much to learn from others, and I love people.
Thanks Seth!

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