“Can I ask you another question?” I ventured.
“Sure.” The response was without hesitation.
“Does being you affect your relationships with people?”
He laughed. “What does that mean? Being me? I mean, sure, I guess. You obviously come from quite a different background and life than I do so I’m not sure what you’re asking. You mean like in a bad way?”
“I don’t know. It whatever way it does. Do people you meet want something from you?”
“It’s not like I’m Brad Pitt or anything,” he started.
I had a friend in high school that would take strong issue with that statement, I thought to myself idly. I chose to keep that to myself.
“I think there are always people that want something from you but I’m pretty good at telling when people are bullshitting or when there’s a genuine person there.”
“Comes in handy.”
“Yes, yes it does. Plus I have enough confidence in myself to think that people like me for me, not just my talent… But honestly, most of the people I meet couldn’t care less about what I do.”
Now there’s an astute observation, I thought. Here I am talking to the most talented person in his field in the entire WORLD and even he has no illusions that people care about him or his work. Talk about seeing clearly.
See, most of us spend our entire lives trying to be the best, desperately clinging to the hope that if we work hard enough, if we become good enough, then maybe someone will notice, someone will stop and care. If we go to a more prestigious school, get a sexier job, or master the art of cocktail party small talk then just maybe we will be worth something.
Nope. All lies. All fantasies. People that care care and people that don’t don’t.
What a heartening thought! Now we can all stop trying. Most of us can never even aim for anything above mediocrity, so why not take it from the leading expert in his a field, the outlier at the very end of the normal distribution and stop trying to prove ourselves? Why not enjoy what we have and who we have to share it with?
In the end it doesn’t matter how many people don’t give a shit. What matters is that we have a select few that do and for those that matter we don’t have to dress a certain way, say a certain thing or possess a particular talent. We just are.