Sunday, 15 November 2015

An Exchange of Dialogue

As anybody who knows me will vouch, I love to talk.  I call it conversation.  Others, less kindly, say rambling.  I particularly enjoy chatting to my sister and daughter because they, like me, go off on tangents before asking, ‘What point was I trying to make?’
          Conversation with my son is a bit different.  A sharp wit and screaming intelligence, he is up to date on all things scientific and political.  Can I talk with astuteness to him and others like him?  Not really. I flounder and feel stupid.  My inability to talk about current affairs is because I deliberately never watch the box or read a newspaper.  Is watching the news or reading a newspaper an uplifting experience?  No!  Consequently I live in a bubble where the sun mostly shines and, even if the heavens open, there is a rainbow not too far away.  Ignorance can indeed be blissful.
          Thanks to social media, when really nasty things happen, there is no escaping what is going on in the world.  Twitter and Facebook will suddenly be ablaze with chit-chat.  This week’s dreadful acts of terror in Paris had everybody saying exactly what they’d like to do to the culprits and it wasn’t long before hashtags were trending.  I logged into an on-line daily newspaper and recoiled in horror.  On Facebook, rather than posting a funny picture of my cat captioned with an inane comment, I felt prompted to write a Status from the heart.  My presence on social media is primarily as an author platform, therefore I mostly remain silent on tricky subjects like politics and religion.  But yesterday I spoke.  I posted about my concept of God being one of love…that He loved us all and, in turn, we should love each other.  Within seconds the sentence had sparked a lively thread of debate.  Comments ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous.  But everybody is entitled to their opinions, and I won’t spark another barrage of remarks by talking about it any further here.
          I particularly like conversation where a gaff is made.  For example, yesterday afternoon we took my parents to see the new house we are buying.
          ‘It’s lovely,’ said Mother Bryant as she creaked into the hallway, the floor of which was covered in white stone tiles.  ‘Does it have underground heating?’  No.  Sadly it doesn’t have underfloor heating either.
          Or out shopping.  ‘I love this sparkly sweater.  What’s this material called?  Oh, I remember now, Durex.’  For those still puzzling, Mother Bryant meant lurex.
          Even better is conversation where somebody trips over their words so they sound like a blithering idiot.  We’ve all done it.
          ‘What would you like for breakfast?’ I asked my daughter.
          ‘I’ll have some pain au cheu-cheu-cheu-cheu…’  I appreciate it’s very difficult saying pain au chocolat before nine in the morning when you’re a teenager with a hangover.
          And then there are those who mishear things and take the conversation down a completely different path. 
A friend worked in an art supply store. She sold artists’ canvas by the yard. It could be bought in two widths – thirty-six and forty-eight inches.
          Customer:  ‘Can you cut some canvas for me?’
          Friend: ‘Certainly. What width?’
          Customer (confused and slightly annoyed): ‘Scissors?’
          Even better, is when we read one word but say something different.  I can still remember addressing a Mr Stipples as Mr Nipples.  Fortunately he laughed, but then spoilt it by pretending to mispronounce my surname for something too rude to mention here.  Gosh…not heard that one before…yawn!  Which reminds me.
          What do you call a one-legged female pirate?  Peggy.
          What do you call a lady with one leg shorter than the other?  Eileen.
          What do you call a man standing on top of a hill?  Cliff.
          What do you call a man with expensive tastes?  Rich.
          What do you call a man with a shovel?  Doug.
          What do you call a man who has lost his shovel?  Douglas…

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