It's like you collect broken people.
A book I was just reading said something about how everyone collects something. Not me, I thought. I'm sort of opposed to collecting, as a matter of fact. I move a lot. Accumulating a bunch of stuff doesn't make much sense. I don't even have that many books, and I love books. A lot.
Then I remembered being told that I collect broken people. It seems apt.
When you get to know someone new, you wind up having to preface your stories with some idea of who the characters are. I find that a lot of my descriptions start with something about how the person I'm talking about has nothing at all in common with me. We couldn't be more different, I say more often than I had previously realized.
Looking back, it does seem that I've amassed a collection of incredibly varied people over the years. Some of them are still in my life, some not. But they have all been fascinating in their own ways and I have learned so much from them. Here I am, a girl from small-town Wisconsin, having had friends from all over the country and the world. People who have lived through things I can't begin to fathom, whose opinions and beliefs and personalities differ wildly from my own.
I'm not sure how I've been lucky enough to befriend so many people who, on paper, make no sense as the type of people who would want to hang out with me. But that ability has always been something I've liked about myself. I've never been the most popular person in any group, but for whatever reason, I've always managed to hang around the edges and wind up talking with the really interesting people.
Which is all the more extraordinary, when you consider that I tend to be intimidated by a lot of people at first, so the process of even getting into that first conversation can take quite some time and a lot of effort. Even more so when the other person is also the quiet type. I'm also not what you might call an open book, so becoming real, actual friends with me tends to be a lengthy process. It took months of knowing some of the people I'm thinking of to get there, but each and every time, it was worth it.
I don't mean to suggest here that "unlike me" equals "broken". Far from it. But in a lot of cases, broken does equal fascinating. I love hearing people's stories and it seems that when people get that sense from you, the sense that you really, honestly want to know, they'll tell you. Broken people usually have good stories. And they will listen to yours and maybe even say "really?" and "wow" at the right times. And maybe you'll become friends and then you'll have good stories to tell new friends later about that crazy road-trip or masterful prank or really amazing conversation.
It has occurred to me while writing this that you, Internet, are most likely part of my collection, aren't you? Well, then. Welcome. You're in very good company.