Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Never knowing quite what to say.

Conversation is a strange dynamic between people. Conversation either flows or it stalls. Some people are chatter-boxes but even they are sometimes lost for words when the conversation stalls.

When people have an agenda to discuss, the conversation is a breeze and never stalls. But when people are simply hanging out with each other, the conversation can so easily stall. The risk of conversation stalling is increased when you do not know the other person very well.

Bob, a plumber who has just installed a pump for the shower in our home, was a very easy guy to talk to about plumbing. Bob decided to open the conversation out and I thought "bugger, what the hell can I say?" - I felt a little lost until Gail starting talking about people he knew from years ago. This illustrates the problem of never knowing quite what to say when a conversation stalls.

Even when you know people really well, the conversation can stall. My mother and father spent time with us this afternoon. Conversation in the supermarket is easy because it is about shopping. Conversation in the pub is easy because it is about the food and drink. But conversation at home is different, what can we talk about? I have known them all my life and they know me extremely well. There is not much more to say and will we be watching the clock until it is time to take them home? So there we all are, Dad with his newspaper on his lap, Mother with her magazine on her lap, Gail with her tablet computer on her lap. I thought it would be rather rude to start reading my Kindle so I put a sudoku puzzle on my lap. We then all had light conversations whilst doing something else on our laps, a kind of multi-tasking. This is not quality time in my view but is how the afternoon went. Even though we have known each other for donkey's years, the conversation can still stall and it is nobody's fault because conversation can go like that. That is the dynamics of conversation between mature adults.

What could you say to a one year old on his birthday tomorrow? "Happy Birthday Leo" would be a start but then what could you say? Sometimes I do not know what to say and I am no different from anyone else. Conversations can spark off so easily but they can just as easily stall. Anthony down the farm challenged me one day about why I had nothing to say to him. That was an easy question to answer, "I read the board, find the vehicle allocation and do my job. There is nothing to say and I did not want to bother you". He then realised that I was not off with him but did not talk just for the sake of it. Now I know he wants me to say "Hello Anthony, I'm okay". Thankfully he does not want me to debate with him about football, a subject I know bugger all about!

Sometimes bloggers get writer's block and do not know what to post but the above does not illustrate this. Oh and I read that Fabrice Muamba will risk a £5 million payout if he decides to pursue his playing career. Muamba insures himself to play football and his policy covers the rest of his current £35,000-a-week deal which runs for three more years. Now Muamba, who wants to play again, will have to give up on the payment if anything goes wrong as the insurance company reviews the terms of his cover.

So if Anthony is behind the counter at the farm shop tomorrow morning I know what to say to him and our conversation should not stall. However, if I bump into Matthew I should not mention Fabrice for obvious reasons!



Comments:
I remember well the free flowing conversations we used to enjoy those many years ago in the Crown or Fleece. I don't remember any of us "Never knowing quite what to say."

What is even more remarkable most of these conversations were based around three subjects: beer, motorbikes and how well the barmaid's jeans fitted.

Those were simplier days

John
 
Those were very different days indeed John. The dynamics of conversation between single men over a pint of real ale is very different to middle aged family men on duty visits.

Remember those conversations as we rambled over hillsides? There were no silent pauses, just vivid imaginations of things we would like to do, generally of a sexual nature.
 
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