by Kenneth Justice
~Have you ever noticed that we all tend to value different things in life;
—) Some people really value getting their nails done at a salon
—) Some people really value a nice automobile
—) Some people really value season tickets to their favorite sports team
Me personally, I could care less about getting my nails done, owning a nice car, or season tickets……but I really respect the fact that other people value those things; I’m okay with it….we are all different and therefore we each value different things in life.
One of the main things in life that I value is my privacy. While I appreciate those daring souls who author personal blogs about their life; sharing all the nitty gritty details of their love relationships, the trials they have with their children, how much they hate their relatives….some of these writers even share the names of people, cities, and give specific details. I respect the openness and boldness such authors display in their writing; fearlessly they lay their entire life wide open for all to see.
Perhaps I’m simply not mature enough to be quite so open with the personal details of my life, or perhaps that just isn’t my style. Regardless, my writing embodies a personal level of who I am while at the same time I keep a handle on my privacy. This isn’t to say that I am closed and shut up toward strangers; quite the contrary. However, I prefer to allow an element of trust to be built up between myself and others (on a personal basis) before I go around blabbing everything to do with who I am. For those readers of mine who email me, I’m sure you’ve seen that I become much more forthcoming when it comes to sharing my thoughts and my life life the more I’ve gotten to know you via email.
All of this is to say that over the past week a new person has been sitting with my friends and I at the café each morning. Our table tends to attract newbies who are looking for good conversation over coffee and this particular man has been getting a bit too intense with his questions about my life;
—) How much money do you make Kenneth?
—) Do you have multiple jobs?
—) I get the impression you have a lot of education, how do you incorporate it into your professional life?
—) What does your financial portfolio look like?
—) What is your family life like?
Each time he sits down with us I feel myself getting exhausted before he ever opens his mouth because I know that a machine-gun-barrage of questions will be coming my way at any moment. Oddly enough, he doesn’t harangue any of my other coffee house friends with his personal inquiries…..only me.
To be fair to my new coffee house acquaintance, he is very open with his own life. I know more about his finances, his job, his love life, and every other detail of his life than I really care to know. Hell, if I cared to ask he’d probably tell me his preference when it comes to underwear brands.
Of course, I have gently changed the subject and even at times told him that his questions were a bit too intimate for having only recently met me…..and he has politely said, “Oh, I understand” but then 20 minutes later asks them again. If I didn’t know better I would think the guy works for the NSA and is trying to figure out the personal and pertinent details of my life.
Last week he found out from my friends that I travel to Central America each winter and then yesterday he said to me, “Ya know, it would be really great if I could go with you to Central America this year” and then he waited for me to invite him…..No he’s not hitting on me, he has a girlfriend……I think he is simply a very open person and he has suddenly become a little bit too excited to have made my acquaintance; I hate to burst his bubble but knowing me is not like knowing someone special….I’m just like anyone else.
All this is to say that I really value my privacy. The more I get to know someone the more they earn my trust….and the more open I become with my life. Is that so wrong? I’ve thought about this element of my personality for some time in relation to culture; is this some kind of unique Western Culture attitude….or do other cultures value privacy as well?
The coffee house acquaintance I’ve been speaking of isn’t from the U.S. and in fact he isn’t from a Western Country at all. His cultural background is quite different from anything I know and that is what has made me wonder if people from other countries are simply more open with the details of their life when it comes to talking with strangers.
Oddly enough, when I began writing this article today I began with the idea of writing about privacy in relation to intimate relationships….and I’m only now getting to it. I read a psychological article the other day about keep a little bit of mystery in your relationship and how it can improve your love life….and I would really love to write about it but guess who just walked through the door, uh oh.
I think I’m going to grab a new cup of coffee and take a deep breath,