My wife and I were talking the other night (something that most happily married couples do), and out of the blue she asked me whether I'm getting tired of trying to carry on conversations with people with whom I have nothing in common. In case you haven't guessed, I'm not very conversational. I am, in fact, learning to stand alone in a crowd. I've learned too often that the thoughts in my head are often unique to me, and if I try to share them, I find that those around me either don't understand or don't care. I have two examples immediately in mind.
Just a week ago, we were at an appreciation dinner for facilitators of our parish's Why Catholic program. The conversation at our table somehow turned to television, and on of the ladies asked if I ever seen the new show Castle. I admitted that I hadn't, but I really enjoyed Nathan Fillion's acting, especially as Malcolm Reynolds in Firefly and Serenity. An awkward silence followed, so I explained that Firefly was a sci-fi series that only lasted half a season, yet was made into a successful motion picture. Eyes glazed over, and I reluctantly abandoned the topic.
A couple of years ago, I was at our local Oktoberfest. It's a big festival that brings in lots of people from out of town. The polka band playing in the Gazebo launched into a rendition of Country Road. My mind immediately leaped to a version, Concrete Road, from the Japanese anime film Whisper of the Heart. I looked around at the crowd and knew that there was probably not another soul there with whom I could share the association.
It is rare that I find someone who shares my interests and with whom I can carry on an enthusiastic conversation. In the meanwhile, I won't give up on trying to converse with normal people, but I'm learning to be alone in the crowd.