Perhaps it’s a nurtured and natural state of deference to others – a default setting; maybe, in tandem and in parallel, a preferred leaning from limelight or bluster, and better the giving to others the easier ride… whatever, my conversational M.O. in the physical presence of strangers, or the slightly-knowns, is to lead with what they have, and what they have to say.
In which case I deserve all that’s coming to me.
And am daft for assuming there’s an implied and reasonable balance to be struck. My gamesmanship trumps theirs here, after all.
Increasingly, as my being in company lessens, I apply a two-hit rule of sorts: a couple of lightly flown questions of interest. If, after those, I’m still bouncing off rock, and their hurled rocks in turn are bouncing off me, then I will fantasise, and cultivate comedies:
a ‘halt’ palm raised and forward. ‘If I could just stop you there…’
I was being polite. I have no interest in your elephants, and that you and ‘the wife’ take them (joylessly, it would appear) to ‘all corners of the country – photographing them on their travels.’
That look you gave me, like I was the loony, when I asked if you put all the photos online. You looked down past your so hairsome nostrils and you gave me that look and you said, ‘online? Oh, I can’t be doing with all that nonsense.’ And then you tucked your two stuffed elephants back under your arms, and remarked upon nothing about me.