Let’s Chat

Come on, speak your mind. Give me a penny for your thoughts. Tell me a story. Regale me in the highlights. Open your mouth and speak without thinking, you’ll be just as surprised with what comes out as the rest of us. Just talk.

Some people have the gift of the gab. Other’s do not. Writers, not speech writers, but those that sit and look at the blank white paper; we are of the lot that, more than not, fail when it comes to good conversation. Perhaps that is too generalist, and if I am wrong, let those that object freely speak their minds. Anyone?

At any rate, for me, the gift of a good conversation is not something that comes easily and is almost completely scarce in company of new acquaintances. Yet, give me a chance to send them an email or letter, and I am full of insight, quips, and witty come backs. There are exceptions to this lack of verbal insight, usually involving either too much caffeine or too much alcohol.

My wife is an exceptional communicator, and an exquisite listener. She makes anyone she meets feel comfortable even when her words might be objectionable to others ideas. I would tell you that its the accent, and even as perfect as that is, it is not what makes her so openly friendly. They can be the richest of all Australia, but she’ll walk right up to Mr. Pratt and ask the most benign question to get him to open up, laugh and smile. There is not a time that I have seen my wife in conversation where she appeared uncomfortable, annoyed, or bored. Me, on the other hand, I can clear a room faster than the starting gate at the Kentucky Derby. I wear my thoughts and my feelings like a loud, ugly Christmas sweater – Rudolf’s nose glowing very, very bright.

So I am a solitary writer, and the white pages in front of me a blank canvas to say, feel, and document everything I truly am thinking, feeling, and, yes, caring. Expressing thoughts and feelings, this is the basic form of communication, and writing is the way I do mine best. True, at work, as a “boss”, I have to communicate verbally. And yet, that has gotten me a reputation, one that perhaps I am not so proud to hold. I have been called direct. I have been called worse than direct. You can pick the adjective. Although there are times when this reputation is useful, but there are far more times when this isn’t such a great way to energize a team or inspire leadership. So when I do have a quiet minute to gather my thoughts, I sit and respond thoughtfully in the written word. Usually I can spout so much logic, organization, and direction in a few carefully chosen sentences that there is often no objection to the idea, construct, or direction.

But this isn’t about work communication. This is about social communication. One of our goals in the move to this new house was to get out there more, be more socially active. And we certainly have accomplished this to the extent that I have to constantly check in with the wife on what we’re to be doing and who we are meeting. It has made us more active, created new memories, and started new friendships. But none of that was because of me. Sure, I shared the space, but my wife led the way. Do not get me wrong, I am truly excited and thankful for everything and everyone we have met or spent time with recently. But I am sorry for my generally awkward conversation.

Today was no real exception. My wife had a photo shoot with a lovely young lady. We have known her for a while now, but only recently getting to know her better. As she is half my age, I should easily be free to speak as the older wise one. Yet, no, the words of unimaginable wit and elegant speech slipped right by. Instead, I made her coffee, and carried some things for her to her new apartment. Quietly. By the way, you have a very lovely apartment. I love the fact that you can say hello to your neighbors on the way in. And I smiled with you as you fumbled with which key on your huge keyring opened your apartment lock. You made me remember the feeling I had in having my first apartment. Pride. Independence. Freedom.

So, I shall write my 800 words. They won’t always be the best prose, or memorable for the ages. They may make little sense at times. But they will be my words, open and honest, simple carefree independent thoughts.

That is all I have to say now.

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