I believe I shared in another post I have met a lot of new family members lately. One gentleman I met, Michael, an artist who is living between California and Mississippi, is a talker. He can talk for minutes on end, keep you on the phone so long that you wonder if his body functions like a normal human needing sustenance or release. Interestingly enough, he is fully aware of his exhaustive story-telling.
I enjoy story-tellers, I am one myself. It’s great to be quiet sometimes and listen to people talk, reminisce about “this one time…” When Michael realized he was wandering off, he would bring himself back to the topic at hand. Once, he stopped to talk about how his mother held conversation. He said, “She would try to tell me about when she spoke to my brother and say, ‘I spoke to your brother about two weeks ago…well, it was on a Sunday…it was Communion Sunday,’ you see how this is not relevant to the story,” he said. He laughed as he thought about how long the conversations could be with her as she thought out loud – each thought having their own mini monologues. But isn’t that the fun of conversation?
I have a friend who has a degree in Biology like I do and our dialogues jump off the tracks soooo many times! Mostly, they divert to some nerdy application of our education to the topic. Last time we spoke, we had a list of things to look up once we ended the conversation: how rice is grown, pussy willows, “those plants that look like hotdogs on a stick,” pineapple plants and cranberries. I can’t recall what we were discussing in the first place but I know there were a couple of diversions that got us there.
I feel we get too busy to have a great dialogue with someone. There seems to be something more important on social media, some movie we don’t want interrupted, some project we have to do, some album that just dropped, some thing that is more important than making (or strengthening) a relationship with another human being. Let’s be honest, real relationships are rarely built through social media. Then again, how are we defining “real?” Some don’t have real relationships with the people right in front of them. Maybe that’s why we find something else to focus on – something that makes us feel connected, a part.
I am both guilty of and frustrated by this. I mean, some things take so much focus that stopping to answer the phone isn’t worth it. Equally, we all need time to ourselves for self care and can do whatever the heck we want with that time. I’m merely pointing out I am aware of how many people put in their headphones while sitting in a full room. Families forgoing conversation at restaurants because they are all on their phones. My most memorable moments are when I put the phone up and engage those around me. I’m almost annoyed I need to keep my phone on me in case of emergencies. I sometimes wish we could go back to payphones and quarters.
Let me take a moment to divert from the main topic, as I would if we were sitting and talking in person, to tell a funny story about payphones and quarters. I, like many youth, had my days of threatening to runaway when I was a kid. One day I was so angry that I went into my mom’s purse, took a quarter and rode my bike to the library without telling her beforehand. I felt rebellious and brazen, chest-puffed out. I might have been as bold in actuality as I was in my head with the exception of leaving her a note to tell her what I did and where I went. LOL! On top of that, the library?!
Anywho, sometimes it is a little annoying to stop and converse with someone because they aren’t talking about anything you’re interested in, or you feel you could be doing something better with your time, but I don’t think there is anything better to do with your time than to make someone else’s life better. Pausing to listen to someone can make a big difference in their day. With as little dialogue as we are having these days, there are sure to be some pretty lonely people out there. Just stop and listen, and maybe even share. You may walk away with something inspiring, enlightening or give them something to walk away with. I, personally, feel a conversation isn’t fruitful unless either of us walked away with something – a memory, a laugh, a challenge of thought, etc.
Well, on that note, it’s been nice talking to ya. I’m going to get back to watching Footloose and continue some art projects. Until next time folks. 🙂