It’s a pleasant fucking evening, so I’m going to write.
I’m a terrible conversationalist.
Ask anyone that knows me.
That knows me well.
I didn’t know this about myself until Ireland. There was that day after the accident when Sarah or Robin (I forget which) told Clair, “well, you know Alaina, she is so guarded”… “keeps things so close”
I was honestly surprised when Clair told me they had said that. No one had ever described me in that way before. Am I that way?
My father has described himself as a man of few words. I remember when I read that letter. Are you, dad? I never noticed. You seem normal to me.
This is why I say I am a terrible conversationalist.
I will call my mom and she will say, “hello, daughter”
And I will say, “hello, mother”
And then there is a pause as she waits for me to announce my reason for calling. Sometimes, there is no pause as I jump right into my reason for calling. But then there will be a pause as I stop talking and wait for her to give back. That’s all, mom. That’s all I had to say.
I’ll be a thorn in your side til you die.
Then you know what, people will ask me how I’m doing or what I’ve been up to and I always respond as simply as possible.
I just assume that people are asking out of obligation rather than interest. I just assume that people will block out whatever I say next. I just assume that the only person truly interested in my life is myself.
I haven’t adjusted well to this world of constant interaction.
I know people too well to give them any of me. I know what you’ll do with me.
I kind of liked when landlines were the norm and people could only reach you at select times. You wouldn’t call past a certain hour or before a certain hour, or on certain days. You were limited in time. I had to share that phone with 5 other people, for multiple purposes. I had an hour tops to myself on the phone most days. And usually with minimal interruption.
Then there was instant messaging. That was an ordeal in and of itself. The dial up, the logging in, the status changing, the waiting to see if anyone of interest was even online when you were. Then the inevitable kick off when mom picked up the phone.
I kind of miss those times. I’m nostalgic for the days of monitored, measured communication. I would even sometimes make up a reason for not talking to people.
“oh, sorry, my mom needs the phone.”
“I dunno, Rod, tell them I’m not here.”
“I’ll call them back later.”
Now it’s constant. People text me at all times of the day, every day. At any time, I am subject to communication, and it’s constantly wearing. I have to pace myself, time myself, put the phone away from me; distract myself, as I find I am annoyed and thin without cause. Or so it seems. And then sometimes, I forget. I forget that people expect me.
And then people assume the worst.
You didn’t respond.
You never responded.
Hours passed. What were you doing?
Does it matter?
This is my rant.
Does it matter?
And then there are days where I need some interaction. I need some human contact, and I am persistent. Poking. Incessant. But I need it to be meaningful, on some level.
When I want to interact I am all in, in some form: physical, mental, verbal, but then I find that most people don’t want to talk the way we used to. They don’t want 20-30 min of sustained conversation. They don’t want that ebb and flow. They want that steady dripping stream or nothing at all.
I don’t know. I don’t know what that means for our words and for our lives.
How we’ll end up.
When will you learn that there isn’t a word for everything?