I think it happens with book lovers. We tend to see people as characters- vividly colored, wildly animated, and infinitely entertaining. (If we read good stories, we also think that everyone is on the verge of a miracle, and on the verge of telling us their own story, and we are eager to hear it.)
I love it when a book character makes me laugh, and often the first thing that I notice about a person is their sense of humor. A joke you tell me will be memorized and repeated over and over, and it's even better if your sense of humor is weird. Make me laugh and I won't forget you.
I love those moments in stories where people connect meaningfully, and I am always on the lookout for those moments of comfort and affection when they happen in my life. A hug or a big grin or friendly wave is like a sacrament... it contains much more meaning than the naked eyes sees.
Little things mean a lot when I think of life as a story, because in stories the little things are the turns and hinges of the plot. Little acts build up to grand redemptions.
Little words heal broken hearts.
And no person, in a well-written story, is a "little" person. They may be small in stature or have a short appearance on the page, but they will always be Important because they are a Person.
For me, the symptoms are compounded because I see very few fellow humans.
I have gone months sometimes and seen nobody except three family members.
And this means that human interaction stays fresh. It stays special.
Each person is fascinating or terrifying, intriguing or disturbing. Rarely do I find anyone boring.
The boredom comes when you think you know all of a person's stories.
That's when meals eaten together become silent, goodnight rituals go uncompleted, and I-Love-You's are not said. Hugs are two second affairs if at all, and you don't look closely at faces and listen to the words that only this person can say with that tone that inflection and that very voice.
I was thinking about this lately.
As C. S. Lewis said,