Friday, April 14, 2006

The Art of Conversation

What has happened to the art of conversation?

When you meet somebody, don't you say, "Hi. How are you doing today?" At least, do you say, "Hiya"?

Several times today, I have been trying to have itty bitty conversations, just to elicit some human interaction.

"Whatcha readin'?" They hold the book up at me without a word. "Do you like it?" They shrug.

Some kids come into my room in the 15 minutes before the first bell rings to use the three computers that I have to check their email, etc. I say, "Good morning!" Nothing. Not a word.

So has conversation died? Do we walk on in our lives without making small talk or without responding to direct questions. Are we being taught to keep to ourselves?

There is a kind of magic in a person that can greet another with enthusiasm. The air feels electrified when two people make a little chit chat and learn something new.

Now we email in little clips and phrases. We text message in such new spellings that the researchers at the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) must be pulling their hair out.

I can't even write a complete coherent paragraph here. In effect, I am talking to myself.

Amy helps me out with this because we talk. Just last night, we had a conversation while we were trying to watch "Criminal Minds" on CBS, a show about a kidnapping. "Could you, Amy, commit the perfect kidnapping?"

"No, I couldn't do it."

"We've laughed about committing the perfect murder but you couldn't kidnap someone?"

With perfect lucidity and grace, she responds, "With murder, I am only accountable for myself and my own actions. Throw that other person in the mix and now I'm responsible for another's actions. I'd get caught. I could cover my own tracks but not another's."

Fun, entertaining, and silly conversation. Doesn't have to be deep, hell, it doesn't even have to be realistic. We're not going to kill anyone, but Amy and I love to play Devil's Advocate.

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