Monday, November 5, 2007

the observer


People tell me things. My friends are used to it by now. Wherever we go, whatever we are doing, someone, or several someones, is going to tell Lisa their story. Their often sad or horrific stories. I’m not sure why. My friends say it’s because I’m a good listener. Yet how could someone know that much about me just by seeing me across a room?

I have another theory. I think it’s related to physiognomy. Physiognomy is when people react in a physical and/or psychological/unconscious way to how someone looks; attributing certain characteristics to someone because of their outward appearance. To wit:

I have a heart-shaped face, and if you’ve ever seen studies that talk about physiognomy, studies show that people equate baby faces and wide eyes with open and honest personalities… and with naïveté. Curious. But I’ve always wondered, when I see those studies, if that has something to do with why people tell me all of their secret hopes, their fears… and their dreams.

“You’re very observant,” a friend recently told me about my blog-ramblings. Yes. I am the observer. And I am so very interested in other people’s stories. It’s all grist for the mill.

I know too much. I have a face that’s full of secrets. I won’t divulge them. At least, not in a way that identifies the owners or brings them disgrace. It’s a pact I entered into with the strangers I’ve met. With the people who come in and out of my life. Bound together by our secrets. I think they tell me because sometimes, a secret is too much to bear on its own; it needs a partner to release the owner from too much responsibility.

I’m entranced- and romanced- by the stories you tell me. By telling me your secrets, you invite me to the party, and I’m happy to attend. I won’t let you down. In fact, I share my own secrets to keep you company. To allow you to be the judge. And there are now a number of things that I wish I hadn’t admitted to you. Practically everyone who calls or emails me during the dinner hour quickly quips, “Are you eating over the sink?”

I’d like to think that I do have an open and honest personality. And yes, some naïveté. I hope it gives me some perspective, when you tell me your secrets. I have opinions, but I usually hold them close to my heart. I won’t judge you. But I will write about you.

By the way, I no longer eat my meals over the sink. I found out that if I keep the meal in the Tupperware dish while I’m eating, it can go straight to the dishwasher when I’m done. So there!

Some more on physiognomy.