Food for Thought

I met Daniel Paterna for lunch at a park and immediately felt like I knew him. This happens from time to time. For me, most people might as well be a different species. My dog is hostile to all dogs, but she ignores cats. Different species must emit different wavelengths.

Daniel is as Italian American as you can get. Although I love Italian food, it’s not like I have a special connection to the culture. Most Japanese people do not emit my wavelength either.

I don’t know what to say or how to react to people who are not on my wavelength. They think I’m antisocial, creepy, unapproachable, socially awkward and/or I don’t speak English, and I’m fine with those impressions since forcing myself to talk to them has never resulted in anything meaningful.

Curiously, I detect no pattern. The person could be young, old, republican, democrat, dumb, smart, male, female, gay, lesbian, black, white, rich, poor, extroverted, introverted, hip, or unhip. None of these are predictive. Even someone being Korean cannot predict if we will end up hating each other.

One time I visited an artist in Brooklyn since we had a lot in common, but once I got there, he sounded annoyed that I had come to see him. I asked to see his work, but he said it’s all up on his website. He did not invite me into his apartment, even though it was raining, so we just talked in front. I left after it became abundantly clear that we weren’t meant to be friends. Shared interest is deceptive.

I wish there were a way to detect the wavelength. We could then color-code each and wear it on our hats or something, so we can spot each other on the street. It wouldn’t result in an echo chamber because wavelength doesn’t dictate what you do, believe, or value.

Milton Glaser, the famous graphic designer, declared, “You can only work for people that you like,” in his speech entitled “Ten Things I Have Learned.” Most people think being “professional” means being able to work with anyone, even if you don’t like them, but he said he realized that the opposite is true. In retrospect, all the meaningful work he had done, had come out of “affectionate relationships.” I think he is referring to the wavelength.