Two hours and twenty minutes

Mere moments ago, my flatmates Dean and Robert finished an epic kitchen conversation that had lasted more than two hours. I overheard all of it, because my bedroom abuts the kitchen.

Topics they discussed, in depth, include what Dean cooked at the restaurant yesterday and how much everyone loved it, the Seahawks football team, the Mariners baseball team, and what Dean plans to cook tomorrow at the restaurant and how much everyone's going to love it. Actually, those four topics were pretty much all they talked about... for two hours and twenty minutes.

A door kept me out of their conversation, but I wish it were thicker and soundproof.

After all their words, I am now savoring the return to silence, but there was something to envy in their easy conversation. I remember having someone to talk with, and it's grand. I miss it, very much.

Robert isn't a friend of mine, but I like him. We've talked for several minutes dozens of times, over the past year sharing this house. If I'd wanted to, I could've opened my bedroom door, stepped into the kitchen and joined his conversation with Dean, but I'm on strike against long conversations about nothing.

And that thought leads me to wondering, when was the last time I had a long, in-person conversation about something, anything, with anyone, and enjoyed it? It's been years.

Since moving back to Seattle, where most of my family lives, I've had some nice visits with my mom, brothers and sisters, even a nephew, and a couple of old friends. In the middle of it, though, even if I'm having a good time, I'm also eyeing the clock, looking forward to my bus ride home to solitude. The visits are enjoyable, but never the long, loose, anything-goes conversation I'd like.

I've lost most of the (few) friends I once had in this city, from being away for so many years, and I long ago stopped trying to make new friends. The odds against friendships are so steep, so impossible, why bother?

Conversations with strangers are kept short, because the longer we talk ('we' meaning, me and anyone on Earth), the more bored I get. I'm bored by what the other person is saying, and bored more by what I'm supposed to say in return.

I would love a long, sprawling, thoughtful conversation with someone interesting, but who would that be? There are maybe half a dozen people I'd be happy to spend hours talking with, but two of them are dead, one's become a MAGA Republican, and the others are a long, long ways away or have disappeared from my life forever.

All that's available is empty but infinite chatter like what just happened in the kitchen. After the first hour or so eavesdropping against my will, I could only think how almost unfathomably desperate for a connection people must be, if they can convince themselves that they enjoy hours of talking about nothing.

I can't do that, and won't. Sitting in my room, alone except for the cat, is a thousand times better than that.


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