That Magical Room

Imagine a room in which many of the people you have ever known at any point in your entire life are all gathered together: your best friend in 4th grade, most of your cousins, a casual acquaintance from church, your in-laws, people you barely knew in high school and rarely talked to, a couple of your aunts, your bishop, some co-workers, that girl you had a crush on in junior high, old roommates, your neighbor up the street, some close friends, some casual friends, and some people who were friends with your friends but never really friends with you.  Every now and then a few more people you know come trickling into the room.  Still, a few of the people you most expected or wanted to see there are notably absent.

In this room, some people are casually conversing with each other, as though it were a party.  But not everyone is in agreement on this social scenario.  A lot of people stand around the edges of the room, just people watching.  A girl you went to college with is standing at a lectern giving a political speech, but no one really seems to be listening to her.  There are several games of tag going on, and someone is also shooting spit wads around the room.  In the far corner, your old high school buddy is projecting home movies onto the wall and a few people are watching them.  Still others in the room are taking turns shouting out questions to the people around them, trying to get them to raise their hands to show agreement or disagreement.  Your little cousin is running around giving people either noogies or wet willies.  One guy is listing off every single song he has listened to, every single movie he has watched, every single book he has read, and every single place he has visited with an autistic precision.  A couple sits on a couch, totally making out with each other in front of everyone.  Your uncle is working the crowd for takers in a multi-level marketing scheme selling liquid hand soap.  Some of the people in the room turn out to simply be cardboard cut-outs.

You yourself are just another one of the people in the crowd; what are you doing in this situation?  If such a room filled with such a conglomeration of people existed, how often would you choose to visit it?  What would you do when you were there, and why?  Would you slam the door and run away screaming?  Would you spend all your spare time there?  Would you try to bring others along and show this place to them?

What if I were to suggest that you may already be visiting such a room as I have described as often as every single day of your life?  You may even be carrying a portal to this room around in your pocket.  If the idea of having the ability to converse and interact with so many people in such a room fills you simultaneously with fascination, consternation, and dread, then you have a sense of how I feel whenever I receive word that someone has contacted me from that magical room, and why I so often avoid going into that room, even though sometimes I kind of want to and even though sometimes I feel like I probably should.

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