“For courtesy’s sake, and from frustration, she often acted as if she felt herself at one with the company, but since no one assumed that she was not one of them, since she never convinced herself in the role, since no one else would have known if she had been Bo-Peep or the man in the moon, it seemed pointless to struggle to grind out genuine lightheartedness and interest, when ears and a display of teeth and any sort of speech contented her associates. Except Laura and Felix, who usually expected silence, but sometimes wanted her to entertain them. Oh the trouble was there was not enough of anyone.
The Russians — Now with Chekhov’s, Dostoevsky’s, Tolstoy’s Russians, who were all more recognizable as people than people were, you could sit on a fine day, or a day of storms, and discuss the very topics that were so lethal in other mouths. You could discuss even the weather with exquisite joy in the company of fully-grown human beings who had eyes set straight in their heads. Peace on earth, goodwill to men! To be always, in whatever circumstances, with people whose ways were instinctive to you.”
And so writes the fabulous Elizabeth Harrower in her haunting tale “The Watch Tower” (Text Publishing) on the instinctive appeal of finding one’s tribe and the artifices of our social interactions.