Friday, August 14, 2009

Lessons in keeping silent

How hard is it to shut up? I know people who are able to keep quiet when in the company of others. But I can't do it myself. I feel obligated because someone else is there to engage with. It feel that if I am silent they will think I am not interested in them or something. So I keep chatting away about anything and everything. Much of it is a total waste of time and I could find so many more productive things to do with my time than to sit there rattling on about some simple nonsense about this person or that. Most of it is gossip of course. But I go ahead and rattle on anyway because I simply do not wish to be rude.

Then there are others I know who completely take over the conversation. They never draw breath and if you dare to open your mouth they immediately say- "Let me finish what I am saying" which they never truly do. Well they do keep me silent but in a totally put a lid on it way and I find that rude, insulting, frustrating and imprisoning on their part.

So how can I ever be successfully silent? I read an interview between a journalist and the famous film maker Quentin Tarantino this morning. In his article the journo was complaining about the lack of engagement displayed by the famous director. His answers were short with no padding. It obviously made the journo uncomfortable because he makes his living from padding out small and unimportant banter into paid for articles. Lack of tautology makes for a very short article. Quentin simply puts what has to be said and then shuts the fuck up. The barest of minimum. What a genius! What a guy! He's got it so right. He is so rich and famous he doesn't care if he offends by being short, to the point and silent if nothing needs to be said.

I wanna be like that. But I can't coz everyone will think I am rude or I have lost it because they are so used to me being engaging and they mistakenly think it is me being friendly. I only talk because I am nervous really. Isn't that interesting? Most of the time, underneath and inside of me, I yearn to finish the conversation and get some alone time to do what is important to me. But I'm so gutless I continue to sit there in a sort of mind daze- listening and talking about shit that is about as interesting as watching grass grow. Why? Because I want to be seen as the good guy--and part of that is not being rude. Am I the only one who feels like this?

We pad things out. We probably feel comfortable in the sound of our own voice. We outlet all that build up of mind chatter in our conversation most of which doesn't need to be said in the first place. We are so busy talking that we really never listen.

It's exhausting. It's exasperating. It's normal.

No wonder there is road rage. The only time we can cut people off is when surrounded by tons of metal. Then we feel safe to do so.

I'm not an overthinking man I'm an overtalking man.

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