What Amuses Goethe, And What Makes Him Go Crazy When Associating With People

Goethe, writing from Frascati in 1787:

All in all, associating with more and more people agrees with me. I observe their various temperaments and the way each behaves. This one acts his part, that one does not; this one will make his way easily, that one with great difficulty: this one saves, that one wastes: this one is content with everything, that one with nothing; this one has talent but makes no use of it: that one has none but works hard. I see all this and myself in the middle; it amuses me and does not put me out of humour, because the lives of these people are no concern of mine and I am not responsible for them. It is only when each of them claims that the way he does things is the only way and then insists I agree with him that I feel I must either take to my heels or go crazy.

Italian Journey, p. 396