The Cork Board

The Art of Conversation, it’s your responsibility………

Ah, the art of conversation… I pause while we all recall a memorable evening of conviviality and erudition……………….

Ahead of the game for the week, I thought I would pop down the pub for a Friday lunchtime drink just in case Computer John was in. Computer John works from home, and, after a hard week working up a sweat “computering”, can sometimes be found down the local celebrating a successful week earning enough to feed the kids and pay the mortgage. I like Computer John because he has a range of topics on which he can pass an opinion without being offensive and he will listen too. In other words, he has conversation skills.


Unfortunately CJ was clearly still at the keyboard but I’d taken my book as a fallback position and so sat quietly with my pint in my Cotswold country pub, minding my own business. Sitting nearby was a trio of septuagenarians, perhaps octogenarians, who I’d seen before together, having lunch, as it seemed a regular thing to do.

As I read, my ears dipped in and out of their conversation. Topics ranged from the effort of getting out of bed ( and laughing at themselves) to Indian trade under the Raj (I live in the Cotswold ! ), and quick as a flash to Andean history, current book choices (he’s a slow reader apparently) …. back to their son’s new car purchase…  and so on.

To be honest, I wanted to play. I wanted to be part of this small group whose life experiences and breadth of interest would have held me for hours. Oh, the questions I could have asked.

This contrasted markedly with yesterdays exposure to modern night life.

... Sorry, Stevie, I didn't ask your permission. I'll take it down if you want. I'm just trying to get people to watch your movie...
… Sorry, Stevie, I didn’t ask your permission. I’ll take it down if you want. I’m just trying to get people to watch your movie…

Succumbing to the rumbles of hunger we found ourselves in the local KFC after going to see  “Lincoln” ( awesome – see it !! ). It would be a quick supper when getting home late meant that we couldn’t be bothered to cook. As you would imagine, all pond life was there.

I particularly noticed a young lady with pink hair, which she had matched with lime green accessories, lime green and pink tattoos all the way down her arm, and pink and lime green “camouflage” tights.  (Maybe she wanted to blend in with a bucket of vomit or something. ) Anyway, it was a statement yeah ?

Her shrieks split my ear drums. Her ramblings of being hit by her boyfriend were offensive. Her bravado was………………… where’s that bucket ?

Anyway, I’m usually more tolerant, but hey-ho. I’m just struck by the contrast in the space of 24 hours. Think on.

The Art of Conversation,  it’s your responsibility !

17 thoughts on “The Art of Conversation, it’s your responsibility………”

  1. Alas and alack we know plenty of intelligent, educated, erudite and interesting people who, whilst they exhaustively catalogue and display their own lives in conversation never reciprocate by asking questions back. It doesn’t mean there isn’t a conversation as such (and it can be interesting) but it does present a marked one sided (or perhaps damaged) ego manifested in a me, me, me-fest.

    As for having to rub shoulders with amoeba (mixed metaphors); It is the reason I try and stay off public transport wherever possible (what a snob!!!!)

    1. Haha, great comment, John. How many times have we been on the receiving end of a “me-fest” ? The odd thing is, it’s so noticeable – when you’re on the receiving end, that is.
      I’m with you on the amoeba thing too, but I don’t think of myself as a snob (though I guess I could be accused of such), just having high standards, and I’m buggered if I’ll sink to the common denominator.

  2. once while waiting on friends at an outside bar overlooking the panana canal, i overheard a fellow traveler talking on the phone to someone. i heard him say, ‘costa rica.’ and later’ ecuador.’ and then he described a strange tree with an even stranger fruit almost the size of a basketball, and he considered eating/tasting it, but…..

    so when he finished his call, i walked over and held out my hand and smiled and said, ‘hi! i’m lisa, and i live in ecuador and in costa rica, and here we are in panama…’

    we had a really fun visit.. he had been talking to a girlfriend, and was trying to find passage on a work aboard boat, and was hoping to make it to ecuador. believe it of not, about six months later i came face to face with him on the streets of bahia de caraquez/ecuador!

    another time, i overheard the conversation from a breakfast table behind my table in costa rica. wow, their accent sounded famiar. when my friend and i finished breakfast, i turned and said ‘excuse me, but i’m lisa from CR and Ecuador, though i grew up in mississippi…’ they asked, ‘what part…’ and i said, well, i once had a bed and breakfast in natchez…’
    they were from new orleans and had toured my home when it was on some christmas or literary tour!

    sometimes just saying, ‘hello’ triggers an amazing interaction between people!

    your options of pub vs kfc are quite opposite, and i’m sure the new faces at the pub would provide amazing conversations!


    1. Lovely stories, Lisa. Thanks for putting them up here. You are right, if you can get into a good conversation with travelers they can be very rewarding. Many years ago we stayed on The Queen Mary at Long Beach for a couple of nights. First night I overheard two afro-americans in deep conversation about the merits or otherwise of Manchester United ! I couldn’t believe it. I let them know I was English and we were best pals all evening. 🙂

      1. That’s so great! There are times we’re not sure of ‘our place’ and remain silent, like you did at the pub. That reflects good breeding and respect for others. It’s their loss that they didn’t meet their neighbor! z

  3. Ah…but when the English reserve (coupled with the decidely curmudgeonly nature of a Yorkshireman) meets the enthusiasm of the “New World” that can lead to an interesting dynamic!!!!

  4. While at a restaurant recently I encountered the opposite..there was a lovely couple near by, celebrating their wedding anniversary (or so i over heard) yet for over an hour while they ate,I bet only 10 words passed between them. I saw a couple whose marriage was dying and I wanted to go sit with them, make them talk to each other.. it was a rather sad sight to see..
    Now about vomit girl, earplugs please 🙂

    1. Yes, it is so poignant when you see a couple sit opposite each other and hardly share a word over dinner. Something inside you just knows that their days as an item are numbered. Now Vomit Girl, too right. I did request of Mrs. Monkey that we grab our food and leave but she did point out that it was freezing outside and to eat a little quicker. Fair enough, I thought.

  5. Huz watched Lincoln the other night….I didn’t! (he liked it) I’m so sick of the Americans :p
    Then again, I’m sick of most things, so….never mind.
    Enjoyed this post and the comments 🙂

    1. Hi Mun, I understand your sickness, but at least the film is about when politicians had a vision for good and not just self agrandisement. Glad you liked the post, though,and I hope you all stay safe and well.

  6. “Her ramblings of being hit by her boyfriend were offensive.” And I thought it happens only in India, haha! But then, the American girls can blow hell lotsa “F-bombs”.

  7. These words, written by a friend of mine, speak for me. I find myself “at parties, in offices, surrounded by people so keen to be heard that they don’t take the time to hear. I sit and watch as though I’m in a room where sounds travels in one direction. Where are all these words going? I open my mouth but I don’t have anything to say.”

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