I love to talk abstract

In Before Midnight (new favorite movie), a dinner scene enfolds with couples talking about what loves mean to them. Especially at their current age as it pertains to their current generation. The young adults who meet so serendipitously…but are full of practicality. Then the middle-aged couple who talk with ease. Celine and Jesse of course talking wistfully of their meet cute moment of soulmates…and then breaking into what reality really means in terms of love. And finally, the quiet older woman who speaks of love floating through—the moments that you grip and hold…and realize that they drift away as life does.

It was beautiful. So connected.

But what struck me the most was…how I have yet to be at a dinner conversation where every participant can engage at that same level. Where we can ask each other why and we sit back to ponder, thinking aloud, with such easy grace. Most people in the world are concrete speakers. In the Myers-Brigg world, they are strong in S or sense. They speak about what is in front of them and think about what is in front of them.

I, on the other hand, find it easy to speak concrete, but I truly relish speaking in abstract. I love thinking about philosophy. Thinking about what could be possible. What if. What actions and consequences mean to the entire world. I know that if everyone in the world thought like me, I would go crazy. Yet, I feel so lonely if I don’t get a taste of abstract thinking every so often. Is that why I work in design? And have this incredible desire to write?

When people ask me about ice cream, they often ask about “the craziest flavor”. This is where I tilt my head slightly and say, “Ah, but is it crazy when locals don’t think it’s crazy? And then I don’t find it crazy?” But I stop myself, because I think that I am coming off a little philosophical and a little too snotty. I can sense their glazed eyes, seeking something concrete, something to hold onto. So I get to their level, knowing that they are asking about a flavor that they haven’t experienced. So I start simple with something American-made: Goat cheese ice cream, I exclaim.

Surprised, they often react, “But how is that possible? How does goat cheese get into ice cream?”

I smile and say, “It is stirred into the cream!”

But the flavor topic isn’t enough for me and I can’t help veering into philosophy. I say that ice cream is happy. I say that it is one of the few foods that is shareable. Then I describe the experiences about re-experiencing our childhood. But I am sad when I only see blank stares when I am hoping for someone to pause…and think thoughtfully like me.

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