I’ve always been a talker, although, referring to myself as social sounds less annoying. Social settings aren’t just fun for me, they are a necessity, sparking more than conversation. They ignite personal connection, creativity and sometimes much-needed insight or validation. Some conversations transpire effortlessly while others need to be stretched as cautiously as pulling taffy. I also recognize that a good conversation requires a balance of listening skills as well as engaging articulation. It is an art and a talent, requiring patience and practice, two things I seem to be lacking as of late.
A few weeks ago I spent some time away from home at a scrap booking and card making retreat. It was mind-numbing to be surrounded by so many people old enough to drive a car,who know Justin Bieber is not a political leader and can buy their own alcohol. I was suspicious that I was out of social practice, but didn’t much care. I was away from the house and creating crafts that didn’t have anything to do with fifth grade curriculum. However, it would be weeks later that the oh-so-wise words of one of my table mates would actually make sense. She is a kindergarten teacher who sang and talked to herself under her breath while she worked. It was quite endearing, I thought, especially after she chuckled at herself and said to me,
“I guess it’s true what they say. After a while, you become the age you teach!”
Last weekend DW, The Hare and I had an impromptu dinner after a gymnastic meet with one of The Hare’s teammates and their family. I am friends with the mom, and our girls have had a few play dates. We’ve even car-pooled, but had not yet moved our relationship to the next level. It was an exciting prospect, making family friends, one I was anxious to secure. Unfortunately, it may be the last family gathering we have with this sweet, unsuspecting family because by the time the meal was over, my husband couldn’t rush me to the car fast enough. All night his body language was rigid and disengaging, interrupting the conversation at random moments.
“What the hell were you thinking tonight?” he gasped, pulling out of the parking lot.
“It wasn’t that bad, right?” I asked in disbelief. Any and every topic of conversation that popped in my head spilled over on to the table. It was like conversational vomit.
“Not that bad? Are you kidding me?” he chuckled, “Politics, religion and sexual preferences all in one conversation with a couple you hardly know? That wasn’t relationship suicide at all!”
Perhaps it was just a fluke incident, after all, I did have a glass of wine with dinner that night. I would get a second chance at The Hare’s gymnastic Christmas party. DW and I sat with a few moms over dessert last night, one of which was the same mom we had dinner with after the last meet. There was a short lull in the conversation. I jumped all in – anecdotes were flying, laughter was erupting, and people seemed engaged. I felt pretty enamored with myself, in fact.
I was the life of the party.
DW casually leaned over, and whispered in my ear.
“You need to take a breath.”
“Huh?” I asked confused, ” a breath?”
“Yeah, ” he smiled, ” you’re the only one talking.”
Oh Gawd, I thought, my scrap booking table mate was right.
I’m ten again.