Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I like fall and chilliness and apples and universities and wind.

I got all of these today.  The weather was super ideal for biking.  Cold enough that you're glad to get back inside again, but not cold enough to hurt.

I particularly like fall because it is the time that things begin.  Weird, eh?  For most of human history, fall is when things end.  But now for us young'uns, we get a good 17 years (at least!) of starting everything in the fall.

This year may have had the least things starting of all my years so far, and that's not ideal.  But no worries, there's still time.  And I probably have 7 falls-full-of-beginnings coming up, anyway, so a kinda flat fall is not a problem.

Completely unrelatedly, I've noticed a trend in my conversations with people I don't know very well.  Sometimes with people I know well too.  (and here's where I get a little autistic and start analyzing everything too much.)
Act 1: Greetings, pleasantries.  If you provide no hooks, conversation ends.  If you provide hooks (say, you mention you're going hiking for the weekend), we move on to:
Act 2: I interrogate you.  I mean to do this in a nice conversational way, but I feel like I'm winning as long as you're talking, so I make sure the focus is on you.  I'll ask everything I can think of about your hiking trip that wouldn't be weird.  This often doesn't take long (I am not very good at this) so we move on to:
Intermission (a little awkward pause) and then:
Act 3: I start to talk about myself.  I talk about when I went hiking last, or how Mt. Rainier is really cool, or how my uncle really likes hiking.  I keep trying to bring it back to hiking, because that's a thing we can talk about, and back to you.  This gets kind of inane.  "I went hiking like twice this summer.  Mt. Rainier is really cool!  But I'm not much of a hiker really; do you hike a lot?"
Sooner or later: Curtain!

Oh dilemmas!  The thing I do know is that when I get overthinky like this, the way around it is to just drop it altogether and do a bit of an end around, and next conversation do something completely different like concentrate on how my stomach feels or count backwards from a billion or challenge you to a fight or something.  ... I'm working on it.
Those of you who are wonderful conversationalists: got any tips?

At any rate, let's leave this positively: autumn is pretty nice.  Go eat some apples, they're still good.  Fin!

3 comments:

Cheryl said...

I would also like tips from great conversationalists. I think though, that they don't think about it as much as you do. For example, the self-conscious girl worried about her looks is much more worried about how she looks than anyone else is. But someone who is "gorgeous" worries just as much, it just doesn't show. Does this make any sense? People that are genuinely good at conversation.. just truly care, and want to know about your day. They are not as worried as you and I are. I think meeting anyone the first time is really awkward no matter what, but you are fine. Don't worry so much :)

Dan said...
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Dan Tasse said...

Likely true! And that's where I get the belief that "when you're talking, I'm succeeding." The less I focus on myself, the less I worry, the better.

If I lose myself and my worries in the things you're saying, we all win! That's hard, though. I find it hard to drum up interest in most things people are saying. You're making house repairs? Okay... I've shut the concept of house ownership out of my world, so I don't even know what to ask. "So... how 'bout those gutters?"

Sometimes I ask stuff like "how do you feel about your house repairs?" (or, less awkwardly, "man, that contractor must have really cheesed you off, huh?" or something) This seems to lengthen the conversation by one or two sentences.

Maybe this would be easier if I got genuinely curious about everything again.