Embarrassing personal disclosure time:
My mother gave me an excellent book of essays by Louise Plummer recently called Thoughts of a Grasshopper. She thought I would enjoy it since, I, she says, am a grasshopper.
The title refers to the old Aesop tale of ants who spend all summer working (ha!) and then, when the cold winter comes, they are prepared. The grasshopper, on the other hand, spends all his time singing and dancing and playing on his violin and when the winter comes is hungry and left out in the cold by the selfish ants (Aesop), or welcomed in after a lecture by the ants (Disney.)
Given my work situation this summer, I wasn't quite sure how to take this. But I continued reading the article and found that, although I am not wholly grasshopper - I'm far too responsible and afraid of trouble for that - there were some definite comparisons. On my study abroad to England I preferred to hike alone in the back of the group - I revelled in the hours of free time I had to spend day dreaming and letting my thoughts imagine whatever they felt like. When I was a kid I took great pleasure in being the last one at home so that I could put on whatever movie I wanted and, for a little while, pretend to be Anne Shirley or Jo March or Maria Von Trapp or whatever other character I was obsessed with at the moment. I preferred books to recess and writing to socialization. In general, my favorite things involve little human interaction.
Which, perhaps, explains some of the difficulty I have in relationships, romantic or otherwise. I lose interest quickly and move on when the effort doesn't seem worth it any more. Friends move away and I lose touch almost before they leave. I am not unkind to people I don't find interesting, but I don't exactly seek out their company either. I'm not a social recluse, but I'm not a social butterfly either. I'm happiest with a small but close group of friends.
I only say this because it was after I thought about this part of myself that I realized that I do have some grasshopper in me after all. I may be a more prepared responsible grasshopper, but when it comes to relationships, I'm maybe a little too independent for my own good.
This isn't to say that I don't like people. I do. I just - perhaps unfortunately? - seem to approach relationships in the same way that I do books and movies and plays. A friend of mine put it this way, "You just don't want to be the smartest one in the room." This was almost a completely true statement for me. When I'm with my peers, my favorite mode of conversation is intellectual banter. I'm a talker. (Those of you who know me well will be shocked by this, I'm sure. . . ). If good conversation were a "love language", it would be mine, hands down. I'm not as interested by acts of service (and certainly not touch) as I am in a good long conversation. If I perceive that a person can't keep up with me or doesn't want to, then I get bored and move on, or at least don't seek out opportunities to foster a lasting friendship. If a person does enjoy that kind of conversation, that friendship will last a lifetime.
Probably not the most Christlike thing about me, in retrospect.
But is there room in this world for socially reclusive but still talkative and confident intellectual grasshopper types? And - here's a better question - where are all the rest of them? Am I just too much of a snob to find them, or are they really that hard to find? (Could we perhaps focus on the talkative and confident intelligent single male variety grasshoppers?) Then I could have a socially reclusive chatty grasshopper party and make my parents (and myself, for that matter) feel better about my social prospects. . .