Orators

It’s not often I can’t get a word in edgewise but last night in the thick of it I was relegated. My guest liked to talk. And talk.

A problem is he is old, interesting and engaging, but a one side conversation can be a burden. When asked a question, I had about 10 seconds of his attention in which to reply before his eyes wandered and he changed the topic. One more glass of wine and I would have fixed him and forced him to listen. Verbal submission. But there was little point in the short term.

It made me wonder why it was important to him to control the talking. And it’s always been that way. Is the inability to listen a sign that most thought processes are undertaken internally for the self, and not in an exchange. But what is he learning when he is pushing information outwards and not receiving any in? Or is he learning as he smooths out his own thoughts and sorts them into boxes? It’s something to be mindful of because I can tend to that.

He knew he should ask questions such as: how is your sister, how is your mother, how is your job, but he seemed to forget that the reason for asking the question was to hear the answer. You can’t help but like him though. Love him.

The stories are very important to his old brain, and we cycled through all the old names and faces hearing their sorted captions. This person is doing well, this person could do better, this person has made a career mistake, this person is a favourite. And a story that doesn’t make sense does not compute. Better to control the information into small snippets to this social orator.

I was surprised and dismayed when my husband fed in story snippets that didn’t match what I thought at all. In a relationship there is a shared story of events presented to the world, a shared truth (isn’t there?). My husband went on some wonderful journey of a truth I hadn’t heard before. Great, that’s how you want it relayed to the next couple at a press dinner? There are some social animals that need the short column not the full page spread.

I wonder why I cared about my story. This must reveal my superego happily living in the social scene. I care what he says to others about me. I don’t know why.

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