“No. No idea.” Says Victoria, B.C. resident Jim Crest-Fallon when asked if he knows the difference between a Hellcat and your standard SRT model of the popular Dodge Challenger muscle car, shortly after agreeing with a group of workmates that they really can’t even be compared.
“The truth is I spend a lot of time on my own, at times stricken by a nearly immovable weight of angst that pins me in place and makes it hard to breath properly. So when someone at work comes along and wants to talk, I’m really not all that picky what it is we talk about.”
And Crest-Fallon isn’t alone. Recent studies have shown that most people would prefer more meaningful levels of interaction than listening to someone else recount what they thought was going to happen in a TV show, and then didn’t. Yet not feeling like they can afford to be choosy, these same people instead settle for chatter about cars, the price of cucumbers, a professional sports team, or the weather and the havoc it can play in one’s life; despite being seasonally predictable.
“I have no idea what four or six liters refers to in a car engine. If I had to guess I would say its the amount of anti-freeze that the little plastic container holds, but as that seems unlikely to affect performance I’m pretty sure that’s wrong.” Continues Jim, happy to share his thoughts now that this reporter has indicated we don’t have to leave right away.
“I really do wish I could go home at night and watch American Muscle Car, I just don’t find it all that interesting.” He explains, mentioning an envy of his colleagues who are able to fixate on something seemingly arbitrary and uninteresting, as he looks out the 28th story window at an array of satellite dishes covered in bird shit on the top floor of the adjacent building.
“Instead, most evenings after dinner I call my bank’s customer service line and ask them to run me through the various credit card reward systems. I don’t really listen, and I never sign up for a card, I just sit there and let the words surround me like warm rice. It helps me relax.”
That doesn’t put him in a very good position for water-cooler conversation, Jim admits, especially as he doesn’t actually listen to the details of the reward systems while soaking in the human connection. So when offered an opportunity to engage with someone he tends to, in his words: “Just pretend I love lamp.” Referencing – research reveals – a mindless meteorologist in the movie Anchorman played by Steve Carell, who giddily agrees with everything everyone says while struggling to make a meaningful contribution himself, clearly wanting to connect on a visceral level with pretty much anything, including objects, such as a lamp.
“So yeah, even though I cycle to work, I’m happy to pretend to be interested in the nuances of drive trains and brake horsepower, just so long as in exchange I don’t get called out for subtly tuning the other person out and warming my hands in the strange glow of their weird little world.”
“Anyway,” He quickly adds, interrupting our third attempt to draw the interview to a close. “What are your top three favorite books?”