In life, a lot of things are two-way streets. If you want to find someone to talk to, that person also has to want to talk to you. Otherwise, nothing is going to happen. So if you go around looking for people who don’t want to be found, people who don’t want to talk to you, you’re going to get just that, the silent rejection of being ignored. While I could practice the rejection therapy, that’s just one of the side quests. The more important main quest is to interact with 30 people by the end of this month.
On a side note, making phone calls is a side quest I really want to complete. But how many people feel comfortable receiving, let alone making, phone calls? These days, no one ever calls to say hi anymore. Everything is done via text and if you make a spontaneous call, the person you’re calling might even freak out thinking there’s an emergency or something. If you really want to call, the norm is to schedule it like how you would an appointment. How weird is that?
So I tried making a post about “spontaneous phone calls” in an online community I’m part of and the replies confirmed that the concept feels foreign and most people aren’t interested. Then, I suddenly remembered this concept of pen-pals, people who write letters to each other, often living in faraway places. Does the concept of phone-pals also exist? Nope, but what if I were to start finding pen-pals instead? What if, instead of chasing after phone calls, I try writing and sending letters instead? It’s a complete 180-degree shift from making phone calls but why not?
Interestingly, there’s even this app called Slowly that simulates what it feels like to send actual letters. You send your letter but there’s a delay to when your pen-pal will receive it, and that delay is based on the physical distance between you both. Fascinating, isn’t it?
So, where did that lead me? Six pen-pals in the span of a few days, and since it takes half a day to two days to send a letter, depending on distance, communication has been slow. Just the way it should be, the complete opposite of a phone call. And what do you know, the experience was pretty exciting too. One of them even asked if I’m okay with exchanging actual letters, how cool is that? Naturally, I said yes just to see what happens, but it will be a while before it arrives, I wonder how exchanging actual letters will feel like.
We are halfway through September so how’s my progress so far? Still no reply from contact #8, I’ve had better luck with contact #9 but it took a while to get a reply and organize a call. I tried to call contact #10 a few times but no answer, left a message on his phone instead but I’m not sure if he’ll reply anytime soon. It’s September so I guess he’s hibernating somewhere. No reply from contact #11, contact #12 gave a reply but went silent afterward, might just be busy or something, I don’t know. And contact #13 to #18 are all pen-pals from Slowly. How fascinating, I’m not sure if it’s cheating to count pen-pals but I might as well given how successful they were compared to the previous few contacts.
Last but not least, contact #19 was pretty interesting. I was walking to town one day, usually a 10~15 minute walk under the hot sun, he was driving by and stopped to offer me a ride. Now, in situations like these, it’s normal to be at least a bit cautious/wary/hesitant but since it’s September and I’m doing this social challenge, why not? It turns out, he’s not an axe-murderer-serial-killer-rapist-mafia-gang-member but a regular stranger with a kind-heart. Who knew? I mean, what are the odds? We had a short conversation and not much else, the ride was short but the air-conditioning was refreshing. It’s the tiny moments like these that make life so wonderful.
Another two more weeks to go before I “wake up” from this dream, I wonder what happens next!