Please Do Not Ask Me What I Am Thinking


Don’t get me wrong. I am glad to be able to think, and when problem solving or planning is needed, you can’t beat thinking for getting buildings built, surgeries performed, books written and published, and aircraft safely landed at busy airports. In such cases the question is probably fine for soliciting an opinion about a logical matter.

Since I have been retired, however, and especially when I am feeling content, thinking is not my primary objective, and I don’t react well to being asked what I am thinking in relaxed settings because:
1. It presupposes that logical, rational thought is what I should always have rolling through my head
2. It immediately forces me to drop out of the flow of most of what I directly sense and enjoy – unique combinations of color, scent, sound, taste, texture, air flow, movement, etc., – and substitute for it something similar but “less than” built out of words that can be conveyed to a listener
3. If I am trying to listen to what creativity may be unraveling in the way of metaphorical thought, it is most often destroyed by the premature request that I express something that has not yet made itself known to me, let alone anyone else
4. It presumes one has a right to my thoughts whether I wish to share them at that moment or not
5. It often sounds like uneasiness or worry about what I am thinking rather than a genuine interest in what I think
6. You will never get a completely honest insight into who I am by asking about my thoughts, which are just temporary collections of beliefs, after all.

If my actions and the manner in which I do choose to express myself have brought us to silence, then we probably don’t have much else to talk about right now and can go back to just being ourselves. Unless, of course, you have something to say that doesn’t involve coaxing me to produce thought and opinion statements when I am really not in the mood. Then we can appreciate the moment as it is.

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