My mother never ceases to amaze me with her ease of talking to strangers. and I don't mean in situations where talking seems the natural thing to do. I mean anytime anywhere, my mom can strike up a random conversation with anyone and in minutes usually have established a modicum of normality so that the person wants to continue talking. Even if the start of the conversation was based on nothing or was truly awkward. Now that is talent.
an exotic flower
Here's an example. We're at The Courthouse, Dingle's oldest pub, listening to music. There is standing room only and we got stuck by the bathroom doors. A tall blonde woman exits the bathroom. My mom looks at her and pronounces, "Wow. You are a big woman!" This could have been received in many ways, most of them negative. Luckily, the woman did not choose one of the million negative responses and instead said, in a heavy accent I guessed was German, "yes, yes I am," and on they want into a conversation about travel, where they each were from, and more. Turns out she was Danish. When I've shared this talent of my mom's with other people, I've been told "it's age. At some point, you realize it doesnt matter. You'll be that way too." One, I highly doubt I will ever be that way. I am one who ponders when the "perfect moment" for said conversation will arise, practices what i will say, and how I should sound before beginning any conversation. This need to get things perfect stems from my writing style, which is the very same, and I don't think it's going anywhere. Two, I don't like people nor do I like to talk as much as my mom does. With that in mind, how th heck did the two of us think we'd do for conversation for over a week together!?!? On our trip, my mother's talent was an asset. From talking to shop clerks, to chatting up our b & b hostess, to watching over a little girl while out on a boat (who's parents were there and somehow didn't think my mom was being a creep), my mom created possibilities for connections. They were not always meaningful or lasting, but sometimes they were. Sometimes they were just funny, adding the right comic relief at the right moment that we didn't know we needed. I learned something too, about how I saw conversations working before and how conversations could work, from my mom. Some conversation is meaningless. Frivolous. A waste of time. But what I was reminded of was that unlike me, not everyone wants to jump into "deep, meaningful talks" immediately, or ever for that matter. Some people think those kinds of conversations are a waste of time (seriously, how do they live full lives thinking such thoughts?!?) Then there are other people who are afraid or unable to get out the deep meaningful stuff. These people need to get thrown off by all the chatter, so they can allow thmselves to slip up and say the other stuff on their minds. Because when it comes to my mom and I, I am often frustrated at some of our talks. The trip showed me that maybe it isn't always my mom not asking me the right questions or that she is too busy talking to hear me. Most of the time, I think the road block is ME to us getting into the deep meaningful stuff. My over thinking things, trying to control and know the flow of the conversation and the outcome, MY expectations for what we should be dicussing, stops real conversations before they even happen. Now I can't write that I'm a totally changed person or I will never assume the same things or shut my mom down again. I can only promise myself to try harder for a different reaction the next time my mom asks me the same question, or brings up a seemingly unimportant topic. I can remain open to th possibility that this time doesnt have to be the time we talk about "deep meaningful stuff" but maybe we will next time. To allow for a chance at connection between her and I, however it may happen.