Scene: Health Club Thursday Morning,
I enter the stretching area and a distinguished looking exerciser asks about my shirt. I tell him about the race listed and we talk.
We talk about running, food, where we live and I wonder if he has any intentions beyond this conversation. I do not mention my children in day care one flight above nor do I cover my wedding ring. I end the conversation and continue my workout, wondering if he will seek me out.
He does not.
Reflecting on our interaction, I realize the man was not so interested in hearing what I had to say, but in me hearing what he had to say. I was merely a new audience.
In effect, isn’t that what I am looking for too? Except I’d prefer the new member care about what I am saying and is hopefully trying to make a connection.
I listened to the exerciser tell me about his eating habits – is body does not tolerate wheat or was it yeast, his favorite food is pizza, he eats a lot of salad, usually mesclin with olive oil and lemon, vinegar is not tolerated either, he uses the oil more for a coat and less for the flavor, he lives on 33rd and 3rd near some pizza place that has gluten free pizza.
I wanted to laugh at him as he distinguished between lettuces, thinking how much my husband would mock him for his profound preference. But more than that, I wanted him to ask me about me. I have had engaging conversations with strangers and acquaintances of both sexes, some who know me as married, and some who forget. As far as interesting people to meet in Manhattan, this guy was not even on the list. And yet, I stood there listening, asking questions to keep the conversation going.