The Gift of Gab

Some are blessed with ‘the gift of gab’, others are not. I am one of the ‘others’. I can certainly talk a lot but I have to know the people I’m with. There’s a comfort in knowing your audience; it’s easy and familiar. I admire those who can approach a group of strangers and engage them in conversation, interesting conversation. (‘Interesting’…there’s the catch)

My husband is such a person. He can strike up a conversation with anyone. He asks a lot of questions to draw the person out. He uses humour to break the ice and make the person relax, and within minutes he has struck up an easy conversation that flows, naturally. At the end of the conversation he knows a fair bit about the individual, and they walk away uplifted because they’ve been made to feel like they are interesting. The gift of gab, it seems, really is a gift.

I’ve tried this technique, and failed. I ask questions that are invariably met with one word answers shutting down my attempt at getting that ‘flow’. I switch gears asking open ended questions that typically don’t allow for one word answers but then I find I’m not at all interested in what they have to say. Am I asking the wrong questions, or are others just not interesting enough to me?

Now I’ve met people who offer up conversation without asking; you know, the ones who tell you their life story right after you’ve asked their name. They spill forth with every detail of their life without taking a breath, leaving you little opportunity to escape. Or there’s the ones who go on and on with excruciating detail about their children, or grandchildren, or worse, their pet. And the minute you interject with information about your children or grandchildren, or pet, they get this annoyed look over their face like they took a wrong turn in a bad neighbourhood. (I guess the gift of gab isn’t always subjective?) Blathering on about the mundane minutiae of their boring existence seems to fuel their fire while it rapidly puts you to sleep.

I think part of having the ‘gift of gab’ is knowing what questions to ask, phrasing them in such a way that invites an enthusiastic response, and acting as though you’re really interested in their answer. The people who truly have the gift of gab, I believe, are naturally curious. They really are interested in finding out about others and, by contrast, like to share information about themselves. Maybe that’s where I miss the mark. I feel no such need to reveal anything about myself. In fact, I am rather private, so if the ‘gift of gab’ requires this two-way exchange, I’m not a candidate.

That said, I am grateful for those who do possess this wonderful skill because if it wasn’t for them gatherings would be pretty quiet. I will continue to hover in the shadow of those with the gift of gab, absorbing the information they extract from strangers, and comfortable knowing I can anonymously slip away when I get bored.

Waiting, waiting, and more waiting….

Seems like we’re always waiting for something, or someone. Waiting for doctors, hair dressers, buses, waiting in line, waiting on hold; even waiting for our ship to come in. (What do you want to bet the day my ship comes in I’ll be waiting at a bus stop?)

At the moment I am waiting for the arrival of my 6th grandchild, a girl. A tardy girl at that! I am on call to look after her 2 year old sister and their dog when labour starts so I can’t commit to any long projects for fear I’ll have to run on a moments notice. Her due date now past she has seriously disrupted my pickling schedule. I make dill pickles in August, without fail, so for this new one to mess with my schedule is, I think, unreasonable. Doesn’t she know, cucumbers wait for no one? They can overgrow on the vine in a matter of hours, and once picked, need to be pickled within 24 hours lest they get soggy. (If I end up with soggy pickles,,,,,,it’ll be on your head, little one!)

We wait for mail. We wait for meals. We wait for friends. Enough already! Why do we have to wait for anything? (I’m all for instant gratification)  Waiting requires patience, and patience requires us to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset: That’s unreasonable. If patience really is a virtue, I am most unvirtuous.

For some the waiting is pleasant (although I can’t imagine how)  for others not so much. Those waiting to die, for example. The elderly, the ill; those clinging to life unaware of the world around them. I suppose one day we’ll all be in Gods’ waiting room, and I guess I should be grateful that, at the moment, my waiting is in anticipation of a lovely new life.

That said, I have jars, spices and 40 pounds of pickles waiting for me, so get the lead out kiddo and stop holding my pickles hostage!