In college I had a dear friend who in quiet moments would often ask, "What are you thinking?"
I was never thinking anything worth sharing. Sometimes I was giving myself a private rescreening of a remembered conversation in which I'd been hilarious or awkward. (Usually awkward. Very awkward.)
(In these cases, I'm sure my face was doing weird things: Either making the adorable expressions I'd made when I'd said the hilarious things or blushing urgently at my idiocy. Usually blushing.)
Other times I was thinking something unkind. I know. You're all shocked. It happens. I'm working on it.
But most often, when a conversation drifted to a close, my mind would follow a path like this: "I have nothing more to say on that topic. What else is going on in my brain? [Mentally singing:] Nope, I was wrong, it's a really weird commercial for soap! I wish I could get that jingle out of my head. I should think about something else. I have nothing to think about. Shoot, Blair is going to ask me what I'm thinking about. Quick, think about something interesting. Global warming? No. I don't have anything to say about global warming.* Um.... oh no, that's all I've got. Quick, there's still time!"
Then I would hear from Blair, my always interested roommate: "What are you thinking?"
Sometimes--even now, even though Blair hasn't asked me that question in years--when I'm trying to get a song out of my head, my brain jumps to that same path and I feel a little panicky. I feel an insistent pressure to think about something interesting, and that pressure disables my ability to think interestingly.
I'll just have to hope that I will never again be in a situation where someone might expect me to be interesting. Okay, friends? When we're together, please come prepared to be the sole provider of interesting thoughts in our interactions.
I appreciate it.
*I don't know why, but global warming is always the first thing that pops into my head in situations like this. I should really develop some talking points on the subject. I just googled "global warming talking points" and... wow. I am really not interested in this topic. I need some material that doesn't suck.