We are what we are


The other night I decided to go to a nearby Barnes and Nobles bookstore while I was waiting for my son to get through his soccer practice.  It was a great choice, since generally I spend the time obsessing about how my son is doing, and sitting in a bookstore perusing books for an hour and a half is like eating ice cream for me.

At one point I became aware of a man with a very deep and loud voice talking on a cell phone.  It sounded as though the conversation was about some kind of prospective job – he mentioned that he would have to give his present employer two weeks notice.  His voice boomed across the quiet bookstore, and I found myself irritated, my bookstore delight interrupted.

Initially I felt condemnation for his lack of manners.  But I found myself marveling at the fact of how very different this guy was from me, which seems less a matter of morality than a simple difference in our innate wiring.  I could no more talk loudly on a cell phone in a public place than I could walk around that bookstore naked.  I would be overtaken by embarassed self-consciousness.  That’s how I’m made.  Obviously, this guy and quite a few others I’ve observed, are made differently.  We are what we are, though it doesn’t hurt to have a little consideration to the impact of your behaviors on others, even if it doesn’t come naturally to you.   I suppose this is their growing edge.  Mine has more to do with learning how to let go of the burden of carrying so much self-consciousness around with me.  It does get in the way to living sometimes.  We are what we are.

Although I can’t talk on a cell phone in a public place, I don’t seem to have a problem talking loudly on this blog, inviting anybody who’s interested to listen in on my inner conversation.   I realize that for some people, they could no more carry on in this manner than they could walk around a bookstore naked.  Go figure.

I found myself thinking the guy should have the decency to go outside to continue his conversation.   Eventually he did.

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