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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Conversational Styles

When my wife and kids talk it is kind of light-weight banter, give and take, back and forth, and usually of little or no interest to me. I was at lunch the other day and Steve commented that I talk like I write my blog posts. He gave a brief impression that made me sound heavy and pedantic. My son John imitates me sometimes in almost exactly the same style, and his impressions I have to admit are funny. When I go to lunch with Jack, we take turns telling each other stuff that has happened or stuff we have learned in the last week. We will occasionally interrupt each other or ask questions, but mostly we alternate talking and listening. When Jack and Randy get together, I get the impression that Randy is even more serious. He doesn't tolerate interruptions well: wait till I'm done, and he doesn't tolerate questions well: if there is something I didn't tell you it's because I didn't know, and if you didn't understand, it's because you weren't listening.

I sometimes bark at my family when I am trying to explain something and they interject with a comment. I bark because the comment seems to me to be from out of left field, or they are trying to jump ahead, but they jump in the wrong direction. If you would just wait a minute, I'll tell you . . .

I don't think I bark at my friends. I might bark at co-workers, after all, they are being paid to keep their eye on the ball. If they were paying attention, they wouldn't be asking stupid questions.

I suppose I bark at my family because I am surprised by their behavior. Or maybe it's just because I am a grumpy old man.

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