Nature versus Nurture

November 17, 2010
We were sitting
Across from each other in old worn library chairs
A slight air of awkwardness covered by ceaseless words
And the whispered laughter that shelves of books seem to inspire

We were discussing language, how I wanted to learn Japanese in college
And you observed how strange it was
The way people’s interests are so different
Yes, I said, it’s the old Nature versus Nurture debate

We were interrupted by a black woman
Walking by in a puffed white jacket
We paused for a moment after she passed
Then I laughed and asked you
Is it just me or did she look like a giant marshmallow?
Anyways, where was I
Oh yeah, Nature versus Nurture

They’re saying now, you know, that almost everything in your DNA can change
Makes you wonder how different you would be if your family wasn’t oh say,
Really screwed up

You nodded, mentioning your sister having to grow up without a dad
I am sympathetic, but unable to really relate
Yes, I wonder how different I would be
If as a child, normal dinner conversation didn’t mean
The Buddhist wheel of reincarnation and
Stories about psychotic patients

When we left
At closing time and you had to catch your bus
You looked back adding
Nice talking to you
I smile, say
See you in school
Knowing we don’t really see each other there, ever
But not caring that much
Not anymore

And now I look back and wonder
How different, really, can one person be from small random changes
Would I have preferred dogs, if we had lived near the coast?
And would I have liked the Beatles more
If my house had been blue, rather than white?

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