Sunday, June 11, 2006

I hate dial-up, but it will have to do

Yesterday, while I waited in the car outside Safeway, having finished my quick errand, a guy stopped and asked me where I was from in Ohio. "Columbus," I said. He smiled and nodded and I asked him where in Ohio he was from. "Portsmouth." We talked for a couple of minutes and he told me he came to Colorado from California, had been here a year and a half and wasn't ever leaving. I understand how he feels. I've been here for over three years and I feel the same way. I'm not leaving Colorado, except on trips and vacation, and I still have a lot of Colorado left to see, including finding the spot where I want to build my cabin.

I've found the people I've met here in Colorado who are originally from Ohio generally feel the same way about living here and they are open and friendly. Must be something in the water or the air in Ohio that makes some of us yearn for mountains and winter snow and sunshine and bright blue Colorado skies, but it also gives us a friendliness and openness that is hard to beat. I'm not saying people from other states aren't friendly, but the Ohioans I've met here have been more so.

I'm on dial-up this morning but felt the need to post since I haven't been online much this week, yesterday being the exception.

One thing I've noticed after spending nearly a week with my friends in the same condo is that living with others is an art form, so is communicating verbally on a consistent basis.

Since I work at home and don't have much interaction with people on a daily basis I didn't notice until this week, and especially yesterday, that my verbal communication skills have eroded. I stumbled over my words and sometimes had difficulty getting the words out. The thoughts were clear and coherent, but my verbalization of them wasn't quite so clear or coherent. I had to take a couple runs at it before I could get the words out. I didn't realize that could happen, especially since I talk to Beanie and my mother on a fairly regular basis and communicate quite well with them. I talk to the landlady and Nel but have not had a sustained intellectual or functional conversation with anyone for a very long time.

There is a difference, or at least it seems so to me, between chit chatting about movies, books and personal things and articulating more abstract concepts or carrying on a discussion about anything outside the realm of chit chat and personal exchanges. I know I can write them -- and I do, having bored all of you with my philosophical ramblings from time to time -- but I don't get many chances to discuss them with other human beings out loud and in person. My skills have eroded somewhat, as I found out when I was questioning some people after the Katrina session yesterday and again when I was helping out at the PPRAA table at HamCon yesterday. It's a bit disconcerting and a little frightening that I could lose the power to articulate my thoughts and questions.

Lynn did say I should get out more and interact more with people, and I'm good with people generally, but I tend to be a bit shy in putting myself forward in unfamiliar surroundings when I have no backup. Most of the people who know me wouldn't consider me shy, especially when they see me go up to strangers and ask them questions about whatever I want to know, but that is different than striking up a conversation with a stranger or discussing something important with someone I don't know. I can jump into the fray but I seldom start the verbal Donnybrook. I merely delight in adding to it.

Looking back over the past several years, I realize I have become more and more isolated and distant from outside contact. I could list a dozen or more excuses, and all of them would be true, but the basis of all my reticence is because I am a bit shy and not willing to put myself forward too much. Part of that is because of the years I was unable to go out and meet people or interact with them a lot because of physiological problems and the other part of that is because it became a habit to keep myself to myself. I buried myself in books and phone conversations with close friends but seldom cultivated or added friends to my dwindling circle of acquaintances. I didn't realize all of this until this past week, and most especially the first morning I woke up here at the condo and walked silently to the bathroom past my friends.

I don't think it strange that I go for days without speaking or that I don't speak first thing in the morning. I live alone and I have no pets. Sometimes in the evening, or when I take a shower at whatever time of day, I sing but it's not the same as talking. I think that's why I enjoy phone conversations so much, because I get to interact with people, exercise my voice and don't have to go far to do it. I don't spend a lot of time on the phone, but I have been known to carry on a conversation for an hour or so. It's my main source of social interaction, so why not? I'm not antisocial, although sometimes I feel a bit that way, but I am a little asocial and don't seek to make contacts, other than brief touch-and-go encounters here and there. I do need to get out more, widen my circle of friends to include people I actually see and spend time with instead of keeping them on the phone or online, but knowing how I am I doubt that will happen quickly or maybe even at all. I look forward to spending some part of the year with my friends, Lynn and Chuck, but I am going to have to put out more effort. It's unlikely the mountain will come to Mohammed, so I guess Mohammed will have to go to the mountain.

So why do I feel like it could fall on me? ;-)

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