I never considered myself fickle or particularly doomed to having a short attention span with regard to people. I pride myself on listening even to the most boring, long-winded people. I often imagine that I want to be a therapist for heaven’s sake – what else is that but a whole lifetime listening to intensely self-focused people, many of whom will not be in the least bit interesting? (They don’t need to be subjectively interesting to need help.)
I thought, even though I don’t love “people” in a general way, I had the dedication to individuals, especially after I know and care about them, to dispense with any kind of fickle, “carousel” approach to having them in my life.
But the truth is, I have without acknowledging it fully been like this. I had a few conversations this week about my propensity for indifference and, as one guy put it about 20 years ago, I am a “pro at being aloof”. Indifference comes on suddenly. As soon as one person becomes dull or somewhat unresponsive in the way I want them to be, it’s “Au suivant…” (My use of this particular song has nothing to do with the thematic content of the song itself; that is, my situation is nothing like what the lyrics describe! – just the rapid-fire call of “Au suivant” seems most appropriate.)
It’s hard not to be a bit indifferent – a concoction of my stubborn clinging to freedom and independence has made people think I would be single and available to them forever. When the situation changes somehow, either through my indifference or a substantive change in circumstance, these people seem surprised that the “ship has sailed”, particularly when they realize they did not sail it as they should have when they could have, so to speak.
Eventually the ship does sail for faraway places – it’s a cliché, but I certainly have never known when it would happen that I would no longer feel like exclaiming impatiently, “Next!”