I’m a nosy parker. I don’t believe you can be a writer and not also be a nosy parker. This whole idea that there’s virtue in not caring what anyone else does or thinks irritates the shit out of me. Perhaps you, as a human, don’t act on your curiosity, but can you be alive inside and never be interested in other people’s lives?
Being curious about what people think, how they live their lives, why they make the choices they do, why they won’t eat broccoli (was it finding half a worm on their plate that turned them off the green floriferous crucifer, or do they just hate the taste?), and how they got their hair so big – this is a normal human trait and isn’t the same thing as judging them for the answers to these questions. Though, making judgments about people is also a very important thing humans do. It’s how we avoid getting into cars with serial killers.
I think it’s disingenuous to claim you don’t care what anyone else thinks or does. It’s something people say when they find other people’s curiosity distasteful. It’s a smug untrue thing to claim. Only a very dull minded person or a narcissist genuinely doesn’t wonder or care about what anyone else is up to.
I will admit that the curiosity of writers is necessarily greater than average. I will admit that my curiosity is non-stop during all waking hours. I’d even argue that my dreams reflect my mind continuing to be curious while I sleep in addition to processing what it sees and has experienced. I am in a constant state of observing everything around me. Color, light, shape, composition, movement, action, noise, interactions – all day long. Much of the time I observe silently. I squash the constant questions that come to mind because I’ve been taught it isn’t polite, it isn’t okay to ask people personal questions unless I know them intimately. I’ve been taught it’s a bad human quality to want to know everything about everyone in the world.
But I know it really isn’t. I know this is human nature. I know that our sense of curiosity is how we learn, how we progress, and ultimately how we survive a constantly changing landscape. So I don’t feel any shame about being a nosy parker. I just try to reign it in for other people’s comfort.