Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Expressive On The Inside

I was hard at work and trying to ignore the chaos surrounding me, but at some point my mind registered that someone had been speaking to me moments earlier. One of the project managers was looking at me, I sensed. And then, a few moments after I registered it, my brain somehow replayed his comment, something that needed acknowledging. I turned to him and said: "I was nodding, but only in my head."

Minutes or hours passed. Then the director was sitting next to me and telling others a story that, again, I was trying to ignore. Once more, however, I inadvertently picked up the gist of it. Something about an employee being let go, and how he -- the expressive person that he is -- immediately did a jig. Then, after admitting it was an inappropriate time to do a jig, he said he should probably strive to be more like Zeri and that he should express his thoughts on the inside.

I think I turned to him and smiled, but I can't be sure. In reality, my mouth may or may not have moved.


Monday, April 17, 2017

On Bantering And Warmth

There is a group of six or seven people gathered just a little way behind me who have aroused my curiosity a little. I naturally assumed at first that they were a group of friends out together for the evening. But as I listened to their exchanges, it became apparent they were strangers who had just happened upon one another here on this spot behind me. Evidently, they had all paused a moment for the lights coming on, and then proceeded to fall into conversation with one another. As I watch them now, they are laughing together merrily. It is curious how people can build such warmth among themselves so swiftly. It is possible these particular persons are simply united by the anticipation of the evening ahead. But, then, I rather fancy it has more to do with this skill of bantering. Listening to them now, I can hear them exchanging one bantering remark after another. It is, I would suppose, the way many people like to proceed. In fact, it is possible my bench companion of a while ago expected me to banter with him -- in which case, I suppose I was something of a sorry disappointment. Perhaps it is indeed time I began to look at this whole matter of bantering more enthusiastically. After all, when one thinks about it, it is not a foolish thing to indulge in -- particularly if it is the case that in bantering lies the key to human warmth.

Excerpt from The Remains of the Day
by Kazuo Ishiguro

I like this quote mainly because I had similar thoughts and questions frequently while growing up. I wondered about the skill of talking and about whether people practiced at it, and I wondered whether people felt more or less close because of it all, etc.

But as I was looking up the wording for this quote online (I'd listened to the audio format), I found it referenced in a book called "Bullshit and Philosophy", which was amusing. Bullshitting is a good thing, it asserts, and I don't disagree. As it goes on to say:

"Just imagine that every conversation were to be informed with a strong concern for the truth. Conversations would be terribly fatiguing."

Then again, conversations are often fatiguing for me. Even the amusing ones.