This story takes place one hole after last week's story of The Geese Whisperer. Once I made it to hole two I came across another golfer that was by himself and on the 3rd tee-box he asked if I would want to join him. "Sure" I said and all of a sudden I was no longer by myself.
Over the course of the next few holes he asked me where I was from, what I did, and if I golfed on any courses of note. He was an older gentleman who said he had just started playing a few years ago. And that was the only info I got because the wall got in the way.
My blog title is "Life on the other side of the wall" and it is something that I probably should reference or utilize more, but the wall hit in full stride on that golf course. While this golfer I was playing with asked me question after question I simply gave the shortest answer possible and never once asked him about himself. I didn't ask if he were retired, or why he started playing golf, or if he were from the Indianapolis area, or if he thought the weather was good, or anything. There was a one-way wall there and while I did respond to the questions never once did an independent word leave my mouth and reach the other side.
Why? Was it that I found his company to be awful? Was it that I was envious that he had the straightest drive I've ever seen? Or was it that I thought I was better than him and I had better things to do than to talk to him? All of those potential answers are wrong, but there isn't just one reason. The first is that I have no idea what to or what not to say or ask. Some people like stating their life story while others hate it. Myself, I would rather play 18 holes in a quiet meditation than to converse and perhaps I carry over my likes and dislikes to everyone else meaning, if I hate it everyone hates it (i.e. I think therefore you should know.) Also, there is a huge anxiety burst every time I do try to ask because, what would I ask? Do I just repeat the same question? But if I do, does that seem odd that everything I ask is simply the same? And, if I do ask something, or say something, and the other person gets mad, what then? How will I react to that? Then what comes after that?
The amount of questions I ask myself in terms of what to do and how to react is absolutely crushing. I may seem silent, or maybe even uncaring and standoffish, but my exterior lies as on the inside I am in a calculating mess of trying to figure out if it is right for me to say anything at all.
Often times my timing is off in a conversation setting and the reason for that is all the processing and thinking I am doing. By the time I've thought it right to say something the window of response time has passed. All in all each part of this thinking and delay makes me try and think harder which creates more and more self anger and after 15 minutes I've decided just to give up and stay quiet because it's easier and safer.
There is nothing I fear more than a social mistake. Perhaps this wall, as much as it is because I just can't come up with the correct question, is also a wall of safety. If I don't partake in normal conversations how can I may an error? And with no errors comes freedom from possibly saying the wrong thing, or having someone get mad at me. Of course, often times, being quiet makes people uneasy towards me, but at least there's a sameness about it. I've learned to deal with the odd looks as conversations take a one-way direction and a complete lack of reciprocity. That's easier than having to deal with making a mistake and having a person get angry.
But what makes a person angry? I don't even know that answer because what applies to one doesn't apply to all. Social rules are different by the person and I don't have the skill of knowing how a person will react at all so instead of playing a game that I don't know the rules of I simply abstain from the game. And that right there is the essence of the wall.
The one thing I want the world to know is that when I may be off to the side, seemingly not wanting any outside contact, I'm actually thinking on what to say. I may abstain from the game, but much like watching a new game being played as a child there is a curiosity in what that game must be like. What's the rules? Is it fun? How do you play? Yes, I may be off to side with this said wall between you and I and most of the times I do feel safe, but there is a sense of isolation on my side and I wonder what it must be like on your side where questions come easy and being free from over-thinking every single action.