Talking to People, It’s Not My Gift
I’m a magnet for strangers when we’re out and about.
Recently, I was in a friend’s yard alone, because I was just getting something out of the car, when a neighbor ambled up and proceeded to share intimate details of her family’s whereabouts (on a bike ride) and health (her son has MS but is doing quite well, and is on his way to college this week).
I was just trying to retrieve my sunglasses, yet there I was in a full-blown, albeit somewhat one-sided, conversation with Millie.
Do I appear approachable? If so, I’m glad. I think. But I do wonder how it is that I seem like Mrs. Friendly Chatterson, when my own inner dialogue is along the lines of “Lord, help me get out of this gracefully. Quick! Before I say something stupid!”
That’s why I prefer to write. In fact, I laughed out loud today when I saw this on Pinterest, pinned by the talented Ericka Clay:
This is me. Absolutely.
I imagine that my brain employs management-level personnel. There’s an organized little lady who operates all business between my brain and the keyboard. She misses things occasionally; everyone has a bad day now and then. In general, however, the Brain-to-Keyboard Manager is on top of things. I imagine she’s a lot like Mrs. Garrett. Even though Tootie is zipping around on roller skates, and Blair and Jo are screaming at each other in the kitchen, my Mrs. Garrett-like manager somehow manages to wrap it all up, complete with a nice little moral at the end.
There’s another gal up there, though. The one in charge of managing everything between my brain and my mouth. She is a total mess. I’m pretty sure she’s been fired from every job she’s ever had, and now regularly brags to all the other managers about what a sweet gig this is. “You wouldn’t believe what I get away with! I send absurdities out her trap all day long, but I still have my job. Suckas!”
I imagine she is a bit more like Michael Scott. Clearly, I have zero control over her work product and I am incapable of firing her. Thanks to the Brain-to-Mouth Manager, the stupidest stuff comes out of my mouth. At all the wrong times.
If all of my conversations were like Words With Friends games, where you say your thing and then days – or weeks – later, I say my thing, it might be okay. The Brain-to-Mouth Manager could probably stop downloading 80′s TV theme songs long enough to help me say something meaningful. But when she has to operate in real time, forget it. I bumble, stumble, and blurt my way to humuliation more often than not.
Or I stay silent in an effort to avoid any gaffes. That’s fun, isn’t it, to have a one-sided conversation with someone who appears to be having some sort of internal dialogue (that would be me, trying to get Brain-to-Mouth Manager to operate on Brain-to-Keyboard Manager levels)?
This instant conversation business throws me. But I wish it didn’t.
Earlier today I read a post from Kelly at Mom Got Blog about being present in conversations. About opening up and letting the conversation happen, seeing where it takes you. The post left me choked up, because this is an area where I regularly fail, yet yearn to succeed.
I knew exactly what Kelly meant when she said,
… folks tend to open up to me about the strangest things; and sometimes, quite frankly, the folks themselves are strange.
When I have been on the receiving end of these discussions, My “fight or flight” sense would be on red alert…and most times I would smile and nod politely while screaming in my head, “Holy crap! Get me outta here!”
Yet, as I age, I have started to realize, I have missed opportunities to hear stories.
I wish I possessed the art of conversation, the power to elicit your story. A graceful way to share my story. The gift of forging a bond through words. Kelly’s post today inspired me to try harder, to put myself out there. I don’t want to miss any more of your story.
Therefore, do not be surprised if you find yourself on the other side of my awkward attempts at bonding. Be patient with me; I’m new at this.
:: Is there something you’re ready to change? What sparked your desire for change?
:: Do you feel you’re better live and in person, or on the page/computer screen?
Mom Got Blog‘s post was part of a new link up, Be Enough Me, on a new site: Just. Be. Enough. I think the site and the link-up are lovely ideas. In fact, I’m linking this post, simply so I can say thanks to Kelly and Elena for the inspiration.