Monday, January 18, 2010


I realize that I am quite the nosy person. I've tried to find other words for it—inquisitive worked for awhile—but when it comes down to it, I think nosy is probably the most accurate. I really do just like to know other people's business, but I don't have any malicious or meddlesome intent. Generally, I think I simply like to know things for the sake of knowing them. I'm a motivated lifelong learner, and what could possibly be a more fascinating subject to explore than the many motivations, fears, beliefs, obsessions, family histories, friendships, and experiences that shape people?

Mark Twain once said, "There was never yet such a thing as an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside of the dullest exterior is a drama, a comedy, and a tragedy." I have found this to be largely true. One of the most telling parts about human pride is that we assume that our complex inner lives are totally unique and that how we view the world is the way the world is. In one sense, that is true. We are incredibly unique and the way we view the world is probably the most important to how we live our individual lives. Therefore, what could possibly be more interesting in life than to look at how other people view the world?

The Internet, of course, gives us even more room to be nosy. It turns us into miniature journalists, except we don't have to go through the difficult steps of actually meeting and interviewing people to learn all about them most of the time. We can see a blog or a profile on Facebook and MySpace and immediately presume to know a person's complexities. It's silly, of course. This blog doesn't reveal all that I am. But it's a good place to start, and I know that people who have met me through here have gotten to know a lot of my story. One could say they were nosy, but then again, I was putting myself out there to have my story heard about.

I guess the sad thing is that you really can't know everyone. There is always going to be that one fascinating, beautiful person who you only saw at a party once, or who is a friend of a friend of a friend. You'll only want to sit down and talk with them and hear all about their story, but alas, your paths simply won't cross in this lifetime. There's an overwhelming sense of loss and wonder there, like when I walk into a library and see all the wonderful books that I simply will never have a chance to read. Or when I think about all the places in the world that I will not have the time to see.

So of course I need to learn how to hold back this desire to know everybody. It's not really polite to go up to people and ask personal questions as soon as you meet them, but of course I'm just that kind of guy. I'm not a journalist (yet!) so I can't just go up to people and ask questions. I guess I'll just have to be content getting to know the fascinating and interesting people that God has put in my life, and writing fiction around the glimpses of others that I see. After all, taking notes about people and writing fiction about them is what all good authors do, right? I know this post has been rambling, but hey, that has always been the case. Goodnight, everybody!


donsands said...

"I'm not a journalist (yet!)"

May the Lord grant this calling to you. We are in great need of some good journalists out there.

I remember reading an article from 'Cornerstone Magazine", which is a mag from Jesus People USA, and the person who wrote the article was allowed in the dressing room of 'The Rolling Stones', just because he was a "journalist". I thought that was pretty cool.

He asked Mick Jagger some questions Nobody else would have, and he was able to speak with all the band members, except Keith Richards, who ignored him.

Your post made me think about that.

Keep on posting these fine thoughts and words. You're a blessing to the blogisphere.

Jay said...

Thanks, Don. You're quite a blessing, too. :)

Brandon said...

I think it's interesting that you see people you'd like to get to know but don't for whatever reason. I think this probably happens with most people at some time or another. I know I've been in classes with people before that I wish I could have sat closer to or talked to more or hung out with, but I wasn't able to do that. I wonder how many people I could have been friends with if just given more opportunity to be around them. Last semester, for instance, I made a really good friend simply by the act of for some random reason deciding to sit next to her on the first day of class. I had no idea who she was, but it turned out we'd worked at the same place a few years before, had actually talked to each other before (we'd both forgotten), and really have a lot in common. I can't help wondering how many more people I could get to know or become friends with just by sitting next to them. But I find it interesting that you, too, look at people similarly like that. I often wonder about people, what sort of life they lead, what their past is, what's shaped them, etc.

I love the metaphor you use of being in a library full of books. Like those books, many people we'll never get a chance to read (or know). I'm reminded of something Danny DeVito says in the movie "War of the Roses" though. He says that we can't know all of the stories of those out there. There's just too many and it's private stuff we shouldn't always know.

I'm not sure in your case, from what I know of you, that I'd say you are nosey though, Jay. I'd say that you're just people friendly. You care about and like being around other people. You actually take an interest in people that way.

If you are seriously just being nosey though, for the sake of personal gain, then you may want to keep that in check a bit more.

Heaven forebid you should actually be a stalker. If so, it's probably just to the advantage or benefit of the other person. :)

Hannah said...

This was fantastic :-) I just stumbled across your blog, but this post drew me in. It's good to know there are other people besides me that are fascinated with humanity.