Friday, March 7, 2008

What's My Line?

It’s probably not a well-disguised fact that I have problems when it comes to speaking to people. The art of conversational flow has never been a strong talent of mine…unless they are conversations in my head. My imaginary chats are pretty phenomenal if I do say so myself and it’s really too bad all around that I can’t have those little dialogues out loud.

In real life, however, my thought/speech synapses are extraordinarily slow. I tend to be on the Twinkie level of conversational intrigue and I dread conversing with people because I know it is just going to painful for both sides. Painful. I’ve vowed, at all costs, never to start conversations and I’ve even devised ways to get out of having to continue conversations that have inadvertently sprung up.

For fellow speaking idiots, start taking notes now.

  • If someone starts up a friendly little exchange, just shove food in your mouth really fast and pretend you can’t talk because social culture states very clearly that you are not allowed to speak when you have food in your mouth. Keep a stash of food handy because you never know when someone might try to “sneak-convo” you. Also, its preferable to have the food be something that is not pretty to watch someone else eat; black licorice, hard-boiled eggs, and veggie burgers do nicely.
  • If there is no food around, yell loudly at your child to stop doing whatever it is he is doing. Proceed to badger the poor miscreant until he is crying inconsolably and then try and console him. If you don’t have a child, yell at someone else’s child.
  • Avoid eye-contact at all costs. Nothing will start a conversation like a little bit of accidental eye-contact. If you have to, poke yourself in the eye constantly so you don't sucomb to this fatal mistake.
  • If conversation just cannot be avoided, I recommend babbling some incoherent nonsense until the other party gives up all attempts at communication and sidles off with a fearful look in their eyes.

These tips have been tried (not necessarily by me) and are no-fail conversation stoppers.

You know, all of this mental maiming could be avoided if people were just allowed to have conversational teleprompters. I mean, it would give such hope to those of us doomed to idiocy if we didn’t have to do any of the actual thinking required for conversations. Before your little parleys with people, you could simply velcro the prompter onto the other party’s forehead and after they speak, it would tell you what to say. It would keep everyone who is normal from having to listen to disturbing things and it would keep you from having to say them.

For instance, instead of this:

Johnny: Suzy, how are you doing? I haven’t seen you in weeks, what have you and your little Lola been up to?

Suzy: Hi. Yeah. Uh-huh. (shovels whipped cream in her mouth and does the 'go figure' shoulder raise).

You could have this:

Johnny: Suzy, how are you doing? I haven’t seen you in weeks, what have you and your little Lola been up to?

Prompter: Well, hi Johnny. Lola and I have been swell. We’ve just been playing with puppies and making cookies every single day.

Suzy: Well, hi Johnny (squints with voracious focus)….Lola and I…swell…(tilts head to side)...we play puppies and …uh…something about cookies and day.

Johnny: .....Oh...... (sidles away fearfully)

Huh. That didn't go the way I expected. Twinkie anyone?


Speers Family said...

Love it! It's nice to know someone else would like to have teleprompters as well. Conversationalist I am not.

Lisa said...

Okay, so I know it's been 7 or 8 years since we've actually spoken in person, but I don't remember us having any problem keeping up a conversation together. Of course, that could just be because of my own excellent communication skills . . .

erin j bailey said...

Yeah, I suppose this applies mostly to people I don't know very well. Also, I think I can keep a conversation going fairly well when the other person does most of the talking. Maybe it was one or both of those for us Lisa.

Crystal said...

Yay, I found your blog! As for the conversation post...I just never stop talking to the point that people will run fearfully. That tactic seems to work pretty well for me! Although I used to be VERY shy before I started high school.

Love your family pictures, you all look great in them! Luke is such a cutie!