Joel Riggs teaches Aikido, plays piano, enjoys California, and reads voraciously.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Phenomenal Beat Box!

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Friday, June 08, 2007

I Don't Know You, So I Can't Talk to You

Early this evening, Maria and I went to a little soiree where the majority of attendees were San Anselmo Chamber of Commerce members. Our hosts were the fabulous Joann Hartley and Jennifer Hershon of Hershon Hartley Design (website by yours truly). Although we knew a couple of people there, and HH's landlord cordially introduced himself to us, the rest of the crowd failed to respond to my standing with an open posture, soft eyes and face, and even to nods and "Hello"s that I proffered to them.

This is a disappointing phenomenon I discovered when I arrived 21 years ago in California, which I call the "I Don't Know You, So I Can't Talk to You" syndrome. Or, put another way, the "We Have to Have Met Twice" game. Here is an example from tonight: Seeing us at a party, in this case an Open House, was not enough for Frank Goodyear of San Anselmo's WestAmerica Bank (a total stranger to me, he was still wearing his nametag). When I nodded to him in greeting -- twice! -- he did not even acknowledge me. But, if I were to run into him again tomorrow at the coffee shop, I am certain he would say, "Hi, didn't I see you last night at the Hershon Hartley thing?" and we would be off and running with our conversation. You see, it is not enough that we are both human beings, that we both have struggles and joys, that we live in the same small town, or even that we both were invited to the same party at the exact same time. No, all of that only counts as Encounter No. 1. Once we meet again, then at Encounter No. 2 we will then have a common experience to draw upon and thus will have a reason to talk.

To walk around a party, or any store or coffee shop, or even to just be on the planet and to avoid eye contact and conversation with people around you -- in a social situation -- beggars the mind. How else, when else, would one meet someone new???

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