...And Part Time Marathoner
We are all moving so fast in this “always on, always connected” world of ours that we never take the time to interact with people around us. You disagree? You say “I interact with people all the time – prove your point Chris”
Well ok. Wherever you are now, take time to look around you. See all of those people ignoring everyone around them? See them with their craned necks staring into that magical little screen that they have in their hands? Sure, maybe you are at the airport and don’t know anyone around you. No
t a completely invalid excuse. But what about people at dinner with their significant other? People out grabbing a drink at happy hour with their friends? They are on their electronic devices as well. Completely ignoring the people that they came with. Their friends and loved ones. So that is why I try to interact with everyone. Even people who I don’t know and that includes people who would – most likely – prefer if I didn’t interact with them.
“How do you do that Chris.” you ask? Well let me give you just a little insight into my technique so that you might be able to utilize it in the future.
I sometimes listen to the same song on my iPod/iPhone too many times in a row. Sometimes I do it at really high volumes so that the person sitting next to me on an airplane can hear it. Sometimes I pretend to be asleep and see if they will wake me to ask me to stop playing the same song. I conduct inadvertent sociological experiments. I’m cool like that. Now, you have to have an iron will to utilize this technique. I mean, you have to inconvenience yourself by listening to the same song over and over and over. Artists call this “dedicating yourself to your craft.” Well I guess I’m an artist because I’ve got that dedication. Trust me, I have it.
And in case you were wondering…I’m on “Dance Yrself Clean” for the third consecutive time. No reaction from the stoic gentleman next to me in the exit row (no upgrade…to Rochester…no upgrade…are there a ton of diamond medallions going to Rochester today? Seriously Delta. What the hell…really? I obviously need the legroom, c’mon, I’m 5’6″ and these exit rows are just too cramped). Maybe he is an LCD Soundsystem fan. Who knew?
Now, I know what you are thinking…what about times when people are actually interacting with other people? You know, actually engaging in the lost art of conversation?
Well I’ve got a technique for that too. You know that conversation that they are having that you are no part of whatsoever? Well, just insert yourself right into it. That’s a pro move. Just jump in.
But what if I want to not just be a pro, but an all star? Well, my friend you are in luck. To level up your performance, I advise you to not just jump into their conversation but to do it at at a really high volume, really passionately, and this is the key…disagree with what they are saying. Whatever position they have, disagree with it. Do they love their Samsung Galaxy S5? Tell them why the iPhone is better. Do they think that “Fear the Walking Dead” is a great show? Educate them on why it’s a hack attempt at getting the American public to continue to watch AMC while the original TWD crew goes on a nine-month hiatus to Bora Bora and a half baked effort at selling more action figures of actors we’ve never heard of. You see, it doesn’t really matter what they are talking about as long as you disagree whole heartedly and you do it without provocation. This is the true value of interaction. You are providing them with added value.
For bonus points provide disinformation. Hey, if it’s good enough for the federal government then it’s good enough for you. Say you are an astrophysicist (and yes I have an astrophysicist friend – my friends are smart y’all) and the couple next to you is, in fact, talking about the Higgs Boson thingy. Well, jump in, tell them your credentials and then just make up a bunch of stuff that’s completely nonsensical. They will take it as the truth and then proliferate your disinformation to everyone that they speak to. And that, my friends, is an interaction that keeps on giving. And that’s what we are here for. The education of others.
*Author’s note – none of the aforementioned text is true (except the astrophysicist part, and the part about me listening to the same song over and over again on repeat). I merely wrote it – while on an airplane – to entertain myself while listening to an iPod playlist at as respectful volume. I’m not that much of a jerk. Give me some credit.
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