Thursday, 4 December 2008

What Happend to Privacy?

I am a fairly private person – which makes the whole notion of this blog somewhat ironic. But as previously mentioned this blog is about the mapping of my sanity (or something like that). It often amazes me how open some individuals are. I am currently at Starbucks (big surprise, ya ya), but not my usual Starbucks. How Thunder Bay ended up with two Starbucks is beyond me (not including the Safeway’s versions). In a population that is slowly declining, in an economy that is struggling, high-end coffee-shops don’t really seem to make much sense. Tim Horton’s, the blue collar equivalent, thrives here. And rightly so – coffee is far less expensive, and the treats along with being less expensive, are far more sugary. Yet for some reason, Starbucks apparently does well too. Maybe is makes us feel a little bit more metropolitan and connected to the international community. I don’t really know, and that’s not really what I am here to write about.

Anyway – this whole privacy thing. There is presently a couple sitting across from me, engaged in a discussion. Loudly. I am wearing a headset, listening to another overrated British musician (don’t get me wrong, I actually like the music). It’s not that they are talking loudly – that doesn’t bug me – it is the nature of their conversation that is bugging me. And since they are talking so loudly, I am going to talk about it on my blog, because they obviously aren’t overly concerned about their privacy. The woman is discussing her past “issues” – mainly mother issues. She apparently has learned a great deal about herself in the past year, and learned that her mother is controlling her. She has finally figured out what is wrong with her, and where her issues stem from (apparently from her mother). And she is improving on her issues, and so on…the man nods periodically in response, a look of profoundness on his face. His body language screams, “Yes, I understand your dilemma…I am caring…your tits look great in that top….blah…”

Yesterday, again at Starbucks (my usual location), I was lucky enough to over hear a conversation regarding divorce. I use the term “overhear” loosely. I didn’t have to “overhear” it – it was public. These types of conversations are routine – the ones in which people feel obliged to share their personal distress – and usually their distress is pretty much a mood-kill. You can’t just sit their in your previously jovial state – it just seems rude. If you are with friends, you become sort of obliged to look miserable. And then it gets awkward. So much for discussing last night’s drunken antics – there is misery at the next table.

Periodically I encounter people who want to talk to me. They see me typing on my laptop, see that I’m alone, and want to engage me in conversation. In London, nobody ever wanted to talk. Here there is no consideration for the fact that I don’t want to be engaged. The problem isn’t that they want to talk – I don’t mind general conversation. I mind the type of conversation that I am privy to – people who want to discuss their personal lives (really personal), or unload their problems on to me. I am more than willing to listen to the problems of my friends; strangers are another issue all together. And it’s a mood-kill. For an hour a day I come to Starbucks to escape my head, and try to breath. Having someone take me from that, removes me from my momentary relief.

I know this might be rude; maybe it is the influence of London talking; but seriously…not everyone wants to know…not everyone wants to hear…and while I can appreciate that we all have problems, and situations beyond our control…and situations that weight heavily on our minds, not everything is meant to be shared. If you want to discuss your personal problems in public, please, do it quietly…that’s all I’m asking – have some moderate consideration for the rest of unhappy society.

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