A few years ago a work colleague advised me to just start talking to myself while on the train. See, no matter, I am always the person that other people chose to sit next to on a semi-crowded train. Without fail. It could be that I am petite so people figure they will have more room by sitting next to me. It could be that my round face is inviting as it always does make babies feel good. It has been shown scientifically that babies prefer round shapes. Such a feeling could very well carry on into adulthood helping people feel at ease. It could be that I smell like a psychologist and people figure that they can get free therapy from me if they sit and chat with me. Back then I laughed at my colleague’s suggestion that I should just talk to myself. Now, now, I am reconsidering that recommendation.
I took the Los Angeles city bus the other day in order to test whether my New York public transportation skills are transferrable to the west coast. I have already tested my public transportation skills in Japan and although I made one major mistake we managed to get around Japan on public transportation. California shouldn’t be so bad, right? Well, California has yet to fully engage in a cohesive public transportation system. I got on the bus and noticed it was way cleaner than I had expected. Then a gentleman came on the bus and sat directly across from me proceeding to let me know that I am pretty. I thanked him and fished out my phone so that I could appear engaged. However, he didn’t get the hint. He kept talking to me and asked me out on a date. I politely declined. Eventually he got off the bus. Others, around me, gave me a disapproving look. Did they expect me to accept his overtures?
I then tried the the metro train system in Los Angeles and surprisingly and immediately found that the bus system was better. Again, some individuals boarded the train and started to talk to me. I pretended to not know English and eventually I was left alone. Walking down the street, a homeless man started to serenade me with snippets of how my purple dress was working for him. I thanked him and kept on my merry way. The next day I went to the coffee shop and another gentleman (this time dressed in business casual) started asking me how my day was going. I responded politely enough and kept going. Then another individual saw that I responded and started yelling at me across the street to get my attention. Oh, at that point, I was no longer willing to keep responding politely even at all.
As a New Yorker, I am used to cat calling behavior. I grew up with it and actually saw young women responded favorably to such behavior. I always kept to myself and didn’t respond. However, considering that other women did it created an environment of intermittent conditioning thus encouraging the cat calling behavior. However, these interactions go beyond cat calling. On Amtrak it is just train conversations. At coffee shops it is coffee pleasantries to a point. In all, I appear to be a magnet for directed conversations. And, not that I want to sound like a curmudgeon, but I get tired of all the attempts. Sometimes, I just want to sit in quiet. Is that too much to ask for? Sometimes I want to run through some work details in my head as I walk, run or ride public transportation. Yet, people often feel that they can sit next to me (even when there are many other empty seats available) and start engaging in some sort of conversation. I really do think that at the end of the day I smell like a psychologist and people pick up on that both subconsciously and consciously.
I now think back to my former colleague’s recommendation that I just go around talking to myself. Maybe even laughing to myself. I do tend to crack myself up which is actually quite a healthy thing to do, in my opinion. I could put ear phones in and pretend to be talking to someone. But that may seem to normal. Everyone does that now. I suppose I just have to go full out and just talk to myself. I can brainstorm with myself. I am quite good at brainstorming sessions. Talking to myself may turn out to be a great creative session that leads me to some new cool initiatives to bring forth. I am liking this talking to myself idea. Hopefully, it won’t lead to any sticky situations. I will get back to you on that if it all works out well. I raise a glass to talking to myself so that I do not have to talk to others. Cheers.