Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
Oscar Wilde, De Profundis, 1905
Last night I ran into an acquaintance at a holiday party. I will call him Peter. Peter is tall, muscular and handsome for his age (I’d clock him at 45). He’s an artist. He’s a mountaineer with several major expeditions to the world’s highest peaks under his belt. He’s into MMA (mixed martial arts for you sissies). He’s lived in New York City for most of his life, but has traveled throughout the globe. Peter is also a complete bore.
I was already tired when I ran into him last night (see yesterday’s post about burst pipes), but the moment we started talking, my fatigue blossomed.
For a guy who has so many interests, he talks about nothing. All of his monotonic ramblings were about the accessories of his lifestyles—the real estate deal for his new artist’s studio, his pickup truck, the gear for his expeditions. He divulged almost no information about himself, about that which was being accessorized.
Peter also did something called “qualifying.” This is basically when someone gives reasons why you should find him or her interesting. The reason I know about his rarefied art, his heroic expeditions, his down-home pickup truck and his manly mixed martial artistry is because he talked about them. But he didn’t talk about them in an organic way. They didn’t just come up as if they were extensions who he was. They came up as if each interest was a part needed to construct a specific impression. Continue reading “Are You a Bore?”