To hesitate before one speaks. To gauge the territory recently trodden and that ahead. The value of collecting. This is patience.

I think I am an excellent observer. I study people. I tend to have a good idea how a converstion will transpire with a given individual. I have a good sense of what subjects are comfortable and which effect bristle at the nape.

I study.

All the while, I scrutinize, organize, compartmentalize. I imagine I have a file drawer of information in the form of nuances, reactions, and unconscious gestures for each person I know that magically is accessible upon reuniting.

My collection has tremendous worth. By analyzing the situation and the person, I can extract as much as I want and give as little as I’d like – all without offense, if I’m eloquent. And patient.

Sounds like a beast in wait of its prey.

When the niceties are stripped away, isn’t every conversation a give and take? I see nothing wrong in using judgment to develop a conversation. Yet, somehow, the description I set before you is repulsive. Is a conversation ever completely valueless to one of its participants?

Do we not all weigh carefully (how careful depends on the collaborator) what we say to a given person? Why?

When we don’t, do we not regret? Why?

Must we live off each other and wrestle with this host/parasite paradox?

I will be patient and listen for the answer…because then I will have gained more knowledge for my file.