The Conversation Canopy

When conversation is not intuitively learned you have to learn it word by word and nuance by nuance. With all the permutations and combinations of conversation it can sometimes be overwhelming task.

I will never be able to master conversation like someone with intuitive conversation skills but I will sometimes pass for adequate. As a child, conversation was completely elusive to me. I couldn’t detect the patterns, the flow or what made a conversation. I rarely spoke unless asked a question and after providing the answer there was nothing more to be said.

The only time I came close to entertaining anyone with language was when re-hashing fateful yet amusing tales of unique situations that I found myself in (stories for other times). Obviously, they were monologues and not conversations because I never thought to ask someone about how they felt or about their experiences. It wasn’t that I didn’t care; it was that I didn’t know to ask.

One day, when walking home from school, I stepped in line with two classmates Aaron (his real name) and George (not his real name) or they stepped in line with me more likely. Aaron asked me what I planned to do when I finished school. At the time, I had entertained the idea of naturopathy because I wanted to leave highschool a year earlier yet continue with further study (the naturopathy course allowed that) and I had an interest in health, so I happily imparted the answer to his question.

George then rubbed his hands together and smiled “Doesn’t that include massage? I think I’ll come and visit you then.” Aaron turned quickly to George and told him he shouldn’t have said that.

I completely panicked. It hadn’t occurred to me that I would have to touch people and worse touch people who wanted to be touched in an ‘affectionate’ or even ‘non-platonic’ way. I immediately clammed up, I was literally speechless. The rest of the walk home was completed in silence and I never spoke of naturopathy again.

It didn’t occur to me to ask Aaron what he wanted to do when he finished school. As it happens, Aaron is now a successful film director. I have bought tickets to watch his latest film Canopy tonight. It’s a ‘meet and greet’ session and Aaron will be there. I wonder what I’ll say when I see him (besides how much I loved the film) perhaps I’ll ask him what he wants to do next.