The element of mystery in human interaction

For some reason, since I’ve begun working this new restaurant job in San Francisco I’ve started noticing Everything That Goes Unsaid. Of course, that’s absurd. It’s technically impossible to do, because we can’t read each other’s thoughts… yet!

What I mean by that is, especially in work situations, most coworkers’ personal lives remain mysteries to you; there’s usually not the interest let alone time to hang out and get to know one another, so the chatter centers on what needs to get done.

“What kind of sports do you like?” E-man asked me last week.
“Capoeira,” I replied, adding “I was never really into field sports, just dance and martial arts.”

This was a rare instance of someone initiating a conversation about me, taking interest in my life.

I would do more of that with others, but after 16 long, well-spent and hyper social months in Ireland/Spain, I’m frankly tired of getting to know people. I would rather keep to myself, do what I need to do, and – very selectively, very seldomly – get to know people as I please.

This all has to do with the element of mystery in social relationships. It fascinates me, partly because as one friend put it recently, “each person is a window into a different reality.” Word up to that! I would add that each culture and country is too, as you can feel if you go abroad to really simmer somewhere.

Yes, we can never know everything about someone, save perhaps the very best of friends or life partners. It gets at a quote I first read in another friend’s Facebook profile, of all places: “the more I learn, the less I know.”


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