The Art of Conversation
"Poor you. You haven't found anyone? Well, you seem happy enough.' Enough? Happy enough, I am thinking. Here we go again, I took a slug of my chardonnay and braced myself. I knew what was coming next."
I attended a "ladies lunch" several weeks ago and of course expected polite conversation during the initial ice breaking stage since we were all thrown together at a table and none of us knew each other.
I try to be the first one to break the ice in a group of people who don't know each other. I have written many times how I love when my friends finally meet and all become friends. That's how our Wednesday afternoons started - the girls on Desperate Housewives have their poker, we (Salon girls) have our Chardo-Wednesdays.
Now, I have just completed with my spring-cleaning. Things are settling around the house. Nana still wants to go home, but is no longer asking the golfers to take her there in their golf carts (thank God!). Luke's room still has more clothes on the floor than on hangers in his closet, but at least there is a steady stream of laundry coming out of the pit. Sophie and all the "Prom-a" is in check and her driving license is only a three-point turn away. Mr. Crown and Ginger has been swinging a shovel in the garden more than his driver on the golf course, which is a good move on his part. My Mom is finally able to relax and has a nice tan. I am actually feeling more settled and under control than I have in the past few months. Everything is finding its level.ahhhh.
So this particular afternoon, I sat down blissfully happy to be in a "different place" on many fronts and excited to meet new people. Well, that didn't last long; I guess I sat in the seat with the bare light bulb over it. The chicken that afternoon was not the only thing grilled.ughhh.
After we got done with the intros and we all decided it was a lovely day, the inquisition started. I got a rapid-fire bombardment of where do you live? How many kids do you have? What do you do? What does your husband do?"
"I'm not married." I choked out along with a lettuce leaf.
"You are not married?" It was like one of those Visa commercials when everything stops dead until the Visa card gets pulled out. "Oh, bless you.difficult, isn't it?"
"Uh, nope, not any longer, in fact I have been happily divorced now for longer than I was unhappily married." One of my standard divorce one liners developed after years of polite niceties to smug married (happily or not) chicks I have met along my journey. Just a little something to put their minds at ease that I really am okay with all this.
"Oh, well you seem happy and settled. How long has it been?"
"Really? Gee thanks. I have been single for fourteen years. Things are fine, kids are well. Some things just work out like that and end up for the better," I said still smiling and sipping my chardonnay.
"Oh, dear, fourteen years? Poor you. You haven't found anyone? Well, you seem happy enough."
Enough? Happy enough, I am thinking. Here we go again, I took a slug of my chardonnay and braced myself. I knew what was coming next.
"Well does he ever see the children?" Yup, there it was right as I had a piece of chicken in my mouth. I looked up, still chewing and trying not to choke. Raised one finger to indicate I had a mouth full. I was taught that it was not polite to speak with your mouth full (or ask personal questions of a complete stranger). It is one thing to offer up information, which I do happily, monthly as a matter of fact. I believe in a slow steady stream though, some things are too difficult to answer and be absorbed by perfect strangers. So having questions hurled at me took me by surprise.totally!
Now I don't make a habit of trying to belittle someone or say things that would make him or her feel uncomfortable. In fact, I generally use myself as the butt of my own jokes, comments, references, stories.anything to make others feel comfortable. I know what it feels like to be uncomfortable. I especially did that day. Unfortunately, that social grace seemed to have eluded others. "Oh bless her, she doesn't want to talk about it." SHE is still sitting at the table.
Now maybe I am over reacting. Maybe I am being overly sensitive with all that has been going on, or maybe I just think that there is more to a conversation than prying information out of one person. I thought it was called "the art of conversation" anyway. And frankly with one in three marriages ending in divorce, my situation shouldn't be a shocker. But maybe that is just me. Guess what? She is not coming to Chardo-Wednesdays ever again.End of conversation!