“Only Connect”!

All I want is a rewarding and fruitful conversation that cements our companionship, just like you do. 

My mistake is thinking relationships are constructed solely out of words. Our consciousness is imprisoned in its own flesh. Sentience, beyond ourselves, is a wish-fulfilment fantasy[1]. Only words can free us, but the connection exists only for as long as the words do. A lapse into “awkward” silence would, again, leave us isolated and alone in company, like dive partners suspended, mutely, in clear waters. 

In conversation, I feel it is my responsibility to maintain contact through my unceasing chatter. Unfortunately, my only area of expertise is myself, so I’ll witter on about my own experience. I tell people the things I know. I tell people things I know they know already, or anecdotes I’ve told before. I’m fixated on completing and rounding off a thesis, exploring it to its full extent before moving on, drawing out its most significant conclusions. I lecture.

But I become more and more desperate to escape from my own interminable monologue, until, knowing (and wanting) to engage them, learn about them, with a sort of despairing lunge, I’ll bark an abrupt question at my dazed interlocutor, startling them out of the stupor my words have bludgeoned them into, and leaving them stuttering and unable to answer. Realizing, then, that I’ve aborted the whole conversation, I’ll swerve back into another anecdote, and I’m off and running again. Christ, I’m boring!

Even when I’m trying to listen carefully, when I’m at pains to let you know I care, I do it by adding my words to your story. You’ll say, “My dad just died.”

I’ll say, “Oh, god! I’m so sorry! My dad’s still alive, but he’s 82, now, and he keeps giving us scares. The other week…”

I’m so keen to engage that I can’t stop myself. Inside my head, I’ll be thinking, “SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP”, but I won’t. 

So, my long utterances are a sort of plea. They reach out and play over your increasingly grim, taut face, like the wavering sensory tentacles of some inhibited sea creature, fronds of electricity from a Van de Graf generator. Or they’re like the fingertips of a pleading blind man trying to identify who you are. 

This seems just a bit too intense, right? A bit over-thinky; a bit manic; displaying fixity if not outright fixation.

Footnotes:

[1] I think this may explain my promiscuity, or rather, my attempted promiscuity, as a young man. I wanted to connect. I’d meet a beautiful, interesting girl and she’d be so lovely that I’d yearn for a much more profound connection than the little light banter, the bit of gossip and mutual, rueful acknowledgement of how boring our jobs were. I wanted true intimacy. I wanted us to be special to each other. My sexual fantasies always involved being in a relationship with the object of my desire. And having my brains fucked out, of course. It never worked out like this, which threw me back on words as my sole means of being with another person. 

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