gillpolack (gillpolack) wrote,

Right now, I spend between 30 minutes and 180 minute a day, every day, answering questions, listening, chatting about subjects of concern. Mostly from friends, but also from friends of friends. Sometimes it's work related, sometimes it's personal.

I've always done this. Everyone does. It's a part of normal life. It's just that, for me, the amount of it has changed. And the tone.

So many people are telling me (mostly with their tone) that the world is an appalling place and they want to check before they do this or do that, or they need more options, or they want to touch base with me because I know what I'm doing, or... so many things. Most of my convalescence was spent giving cups of tea to friends and hearing their problems.

The subjects change. Mostly the "Let me give you something back" subjects change. Right now, everyone who drops in feels they must comment on my place or my lifestyle. A couple of months ago, they all felt my health required assistance. I don't find surprised comments that "Your bathroom is cleaner than mine" or "How are you going to eat that food?" useful, but it makes the person giving them happy.

They often want to talk about how to change the subtle bigotry they've only just realised they have, or how to deal with the loss of a job, or ask me to listen to them about their illness, to hear about their workplace or what to do with a daughter who's too bright for her teachers. It's the everyday. And there's so much of it.

Qualifying this helps me realise that so many people are talking to so many other people right now. This is not happening publicly. It's happening to me more than it used to. Maybe I'm not the solitary spinster any more. Or maybe people are just talking.

I find I babble my news at a great rate, for otherwise I don't get to say it. So many people think they're listening to me when, in fact, they're talking about themselves. I occasionally want to pose a flash test question "What were the three major health problems of the last 12 months?" "What am I doing in August?" "What's happening with my novels?" Instead I infodump and hope I'm heard. This is the pattern of my childhood: everyone wanting to talk to me and only select people listening.

I'm not sure I understand it yet.

When I die, I want my friends to tell stories of my life and of me. Right now, though, I just want to understand why the increase in conversations. A few years ago I was lucky to get one a week and now I'm back to my classic Gillian life of having all the most interesting conversations. Like everyone else. It makes me feel human. Almost normal. I do think it's the state of the world causing it, though, and not the state of the Gillian. This is why I need to understand it.

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