Surface meets surface. When our life ceases to be inward and private, conversation degenerates into mere gossip. We rarely meet a man who can tell us any news which he has not read in a newspaper, or been told by his neighbor; and, for the most part, the only difference between us and our fellow is that he has seen the newspaper, or been out to tea, and we have not. In proportion as our inward life fails, we go more constantly and dependently to the post office. You may depend on it, that the poor fellow who walks away with the greatest number of letters, proud of his extensive correspondence, has not heard from himself this long while. Henry David Thoreau, Life Without PrinciplePart of me agrees with dear Henry on this (he's got a point about using social relationships to live an unexamined life), but part of me recognizes that this is probably some bit of self-defense on his part (jealous much? - that he wasn't receiving more letters than anyone else). Cynical old bastard.