I was sitting at the local diner with Sky having a really shitty breakfast at 1pm. The old man next to us has been talking non-stop to the younger woman across the table since the dawn of time. I'm thinking perhaps she is deaf because I can't tell if she is even aware he is still rambling. I'm usually pretty good at blocking out other people but fairly quickly I realized both Sky and myself were totally silent and engrossed in what this man was talking about. He covered an array of topics with intense passion and commitment. You couldn't help eavesdropping. After all, he is only a foot away from me. So he says something about youth and how young people don't talk to their ancestors about history and how they could learn something from it. Possibly stop making the same mistakes. But the kids aren't interested. So I chimed in,
"Well, WE are interested!"
He turned to me and peered at me with his one working eye as it started to tear up and began a beautiful one person conversation that lasted for the next three hours. Oh yes. Three hours.
Turns out the younger woman across the table was his new wife. They just got married last year. He told us all about his abusive parents that raped him as a child and how he was autistic for 34 years and could barley move. He told us a lot about Winnicott whom he obviously adores. He is Jewish but kept saying he didn't believe in a God that could do the things that have happened to so many humans. Then he spoke of the Holocaust and the rape his wife endured in her prior marriage. He spoke of many religions and ideas and countries and people. He spoke of philosophers. He spoke quickly. I couldn't absorb it all.
Okay this is what I'm getting at. I walked into this diner expecting same old same old and ignoring what I assumed was a crazy old man. I ended up having an amazing eye and ear opening experience with enough information to count as an entire college course. Maybe you should consider having a long talk with someone in their eighties or nineties. I bet they could teach you something. Oh, and don't lose the chance to collect the stories of your family history because as my new friend said "when it's gone, it's gone" and lost forever.
Aren't you hungry for diner food now?