I do miss people. Oh I know, I’m seeing people at work and in the stores but one of the things that is missing the most in this time in my life is how much I miss the variety of good conversation. I had no idea how much sitting with someone and talking about things that I find stimulating becomes so terribly important to my day. I thank God my husband is a good conversationalist!
I also find myself aware that I miss particular topics of conversation. I never realized how I tended to seek out particular people based on their eclectic interests, or how diverse my friends and acquaintances are. Please take no offense that I talk in terms of topical genre when I think about particular people, but I think if we we’re honest we’d all find that to be true. We look forward to that one friend, for example, who can talk about sports and we can relax and just go down a rabbit hole with on that topic. For me I look for particular friends who can talk about art, or that I can talk about historical reenacting, or those people that I can talk about costuming, or faith or any number of other passions or entertainments that make up the whole of who I am.
I’m not able to go to the art shows and to the historical sites and talk to that particular group of friends and I find myself hungry for it, certainly. But there’s still more to it.
Even the conversations I’m having in my immediate circle are struggling because I made some realizations about how I listen. First, I’ve always been an eye person. I look at a person’s eye while they’re talking, as actually most of us do. You get the expression, and you get raised eyebrows, twinkles, crinkles and any number of enhancements to punctuate what they’re saying. What I have discovered now, with the mouth being out of sight, is that I was actually also watching the entire face action. I think inadvertently, we read lips to some degree to make sure that the words that were hearing are correct, especially when filtering out extraneous noises.
Add to that our new social distancing and there is something about the 6′ apart that is adversly affecting our conversation. Even though we know why someone is standing away from us there is a real subliminal paranoia that creeps in that makes us feel like they are rejecting us on some primitive level. It makes us feel like it’s a statement even when it’s not. These two things, compounded by the fact that that my eyes aren’t what they need to be even with my glasses on, and I can’t read the other person’s eyes as well as I should.
I am yearning for the connection of conversation. I got to thinking about events on the calendar again today and how right about now I would be excitedly anticipating the next 2 events coming up in an ordinary year. I got to thinking about the friends in Kenosha that I would be seeing the 1st weekend in August, and then following hot on that heel would be the gathering of friends on North Shore Superior at Grand Portage, Minnesota.
There are so many wonderful people that I’m not seeing and not having conversations with this year, and until the virus has been contained sufficiently to open the Canadian borders, I don’t know when I’ll get to visit with those people again. I understand the disappointment I feel. What surprises me is the sadness, and even a slight fear that I may not get to visit with them again, ever. Any one of us could become a fatality from any one of life’s dangers be it car crash, virus, or some other malady. This feels unnaturally pessimistic.
I’ve been struggling to paint. Today as I sat at the easel trying to make myself get past the block, I got to thinking about a lovely conversation that I had in the great Hall of Grand Portage National Park with a lovely seamstress from Canada. She’s a professional woman whom I admire and always enjoy talking with. So today rather than dwell on the fears of not being able to talk through masks or from a distance of 6′ or from a greater distance across borders, I decided to fondly think of conversations I have had with her and so many others.
I think I need to redouble my efforts to straighten my posture, throw back my shoulders and put aside my fears, and make a point of focusing on the true level of the water in my glass.
Today’s painting is a 5″ x 7″ oil on canvas board called “Visit With a Friend.”