03 November 2009

"Talk, talk" --Talk Talk

A very old joke...

A guy joins a monastery and takes a vow of silence: he’s allowed to say two words every seven years.

After the first seven years, the elders bring him in and ask for his two words. "Cold floors," he says. They nod and send him away.

Seven more years pass. They bring him back in and ask for his two words. He clears his throats and says, "Bad food." They nod and send him away.

Seven more years pass. They bring him in for his two words. "I quit," he says. "That's not surprising," the elders say. "You've done nothing but complain since you got here."


I think sometimes I could be pretty happy taking a vow of silence, floors and food notwithstanding. I go through periods of being social and periods of being downright anti-social, the latter especially when I am feeling crowded, overwhelmed, beaten down or compressed. And, so, completely burned out, I really enjoyed being quiet in quiet Cozumel, sans commitments, just hearing the waves gently lapping against the shore.

Truly, even at my most social, I am not a chatter. I *can* chat and, oh, it's true, I blather on here, for you, my cheeky monkeys. But IRL, I can, at least at times, lean toward the quiet side--you know, those times I'm not drilling you with questions. Doesn't mean I'm not interested. If you ask me something*, I'll answer and maybe even expound a bit. With those friends who like to debate, I'll go full bore. But I wasn't raised in a family that encouraged chatting for the sake of chatting.

The husband, on the other hand, is a chatter. He'll talk to anyone at any time anywhere. I notice this particularly when we are on vacation because we spend large blocks of time together then. It takes him no time at all to meet a variety of people. Where I am enjoying the quiet, he'll be striking up conversations. He'll offer to fetch us drinks and ten minutes will go by. I'll find him at the bar, with my watered down drink still clutched in his hand, chatting. He hasn't even realized the time has gone by. And it's not all on him. He has the kind of countenance that invites chatting. People will choose to chat with him all the time. His face says, "Why, yes, please tell me what Houston is like in July." While mine apparently says "Do you have a death wish?" I don't think I intentionally put a squinky look on my face but there it is.

So, it was with interest that I noted one of the Date Lab questions in this past Sunday's Washington Post: "Chances you'd talk to a stranger in a bar..." I have talked to strangers in bars. I've had strangers in bars talk to me. But it's not the norm for me. I'd say the chances are ~10%.

What are the chances you'd talk to a stranger in a bar?



* You could at least pretend to take an interest, fergawdssake.

27 comments:

Maya said...

I think I'm more along the lines of you. Can I talk to strangers in a bar? Yes. Have I? Yes. Do I wish to these days? Most times, No. Why? Burned out on people. J, however, can talk to a cactus (or it will talk to her). I often find her chatting to people while I'm waiting as well. Damn watered down drinks! ;-)

Gilahi said...

@Maya - So J and I have these hilarious IM sessions with each other only because there are no cacti in Switzerland?

Little Ms Blogger said...

I don't chat up strangers and consider myself shy in many situations. However, that does not stop people from approaching me and many times sharing their inner most secrets.

I must have a face that screams "I'm a good listener" or "I care".

At times, it can be a bit off putting.

Maya said...

@Gilahi: There is a cactus on the balcony for her to talk to and she still prefers to chat with you, so no worries!

The Bug said...

In my 20s? No. I wouldn't have wanted to be at the bar & I would have just wanted people to leave me alone. Now I'll talk if I'm bored, but only if someone talks to me.

frogponder said...

One would have to drink to be in a bar!

Lemmonex said...

I do sometimes, yes...but not really my nature. I am a New Englander at heart, ie I don't like strangers. Somehow I always seem to be making new friends, though.

Bowie Mike said...

Call me strange, but I'm probably more chatty with strangers "on the street" than at a party. My daughter once asked me why I talk to everyone. This morning I was chatting up ladies while in line at the Maryland MVA renewing my license. The ice breaker was, "did you know that you're not allowed to smile when they take your picture for your license in Virginia?" Lines like that have replaced, "if I tell you that your body is hot, would you hold it against me?"

Liebchen said...

I definitely won't strike up the conversation in the bar - it feels unnatural to me. But I'll let it develop. I'm not really a super chatter either.

Mike said...

Not happening.

Herb of DC said...

It's much easier for me to drink at home alone and chat with strangers online. Although they don't know me as "Herb"...

Alice said...

oh.. i am definitely A Chatter. i will talk to ANYONE. a lot. halloween is one of my favorite holidays, actually, because it's totally normal to go up to ANYONE and start talking to them about their costume. i talked to like 15 randos in an hour at the party i went to on friday night :-)

Toe said...

In a bar? Probably 100% I get extra chatty around the booze. On vacation 0%. And I do have the squinty face.

Dmbosstone said...

I'll talk to people. I'm a friend whore.

FoggyDew said...

Made my living as a reporter for many years. Not only will I start talking to you, but you'll be telling me your life story within minutes. A handy skill when you live and die by the column inch.

So I got that going for me.

kys said...

I'm the talker in this family. Hubs doesn't talk to anyone. Not even me. It's like living with another chair. A chair that burps and farts.

restaurant refugee said...

I am certain that it will not shock you when I say that I am very likely to talk to strangers in a bar. I think the reasons are two fold - I frequently go to bars by myself which makes random conversations highly likely, and two, I also frequent bars where I tend to know a number of people which leads to a natural social integration of new people.

f.B said...

If the stranger is introduced to me, sure. But otherwise, strangers are well, strangers, and so I'm somewhere really close to your 10% mark.

Tina said...

My husband is the chatty cathy - and honestly it annoys the crap out of me sometimes. But we have made some interesting friends because of his tendency to chat up strangers too. Me not so much. I'm the person that has said - I kid you not - to well meaning strangers trying to chat me up "um excuse me but do I know you? Because if not - why are you talking to me?"

Barbara said...

If I was in a bar by myself (unlikely), I'd probably find someone to talk to thinking it would make me less obvious. Alcohol makes me more outgoing. I'd give it at least 50%.

mylittlebecky said...

interesting... chances strangers will talk to becky in a bar: very high. chances becky will make strangers uncomfortable and (fingers crossed) make them rethink their friendliness: super very high. i'm awkward and antisocial. people always say i look mad/angry/sad/bored. all. the. time. i missed some sort of socializing class in school.

Oliveira said...

If a stranger chats me up, gladly. But I never chat people up. I have no clue how to do that. I'd say chances of me talking to a random person in a bar are 2% if I am with friends and 50% when I am on my own, people like to approach me. (WEIRDOS.)

lacochran said...

Maya: Indeed--I'd suggest we fetch our own drinks but, then, we'd have to fetch our own drinks. So, you can see the problem.

Gilahi: Sure, go ahead. Chat with other folks in my comment section.

Little Ms Blogger: At least you get good blog material. What I hear most of the time is boooooring.

The Bug, Liebchen: Not initiating. Got it. Now, I wonder if you two have ever been side by side in a bar before.

frogponder: Good point. You can substitute waiting in line at the grocery store, if you like.

Lemmonex: "I don't like strangers." With your recent run-in with a stranger at a bar, I don't blame you.

Bowie Mike: Strange. (Well, you said...)

Mike, f.B: Thanks for weighing in.

Herb of DC: You wouldn't be sxxyguy214 by any chance, would you? I'm said too much.

Alice: Thanks for weighing in. Glad you got your needs met.

Toe: Do you have to squinty face on vacation or all the time?

Dmbosstone: At least you're clear.

FoggyDew: Comes with the territory. Check.

kys: You're a romantic, I can tell.

restaurant refugee: Not shocked.

Tina: Brutal! I love it!

Barbara: Less obvious... that you're alone in a bar?

mylittlebecky: I was out sick that day, too.

Oliveira: So, higher incidence when you are alone. Got it.

Janet Kincaid said...

What can I say? I connect with people. Or something. I don't know. And yes, I could make friends with a cactus. So far, though, I haven't reached out to the cactus on the balcony. Maybe I should offer it a drink and see what happens...

Titania said...

hmmmm, dunno. I am not likely to just start talkign to people in a bar. But they do seem to talk to me, and in most of those cases (there gotta by an exception), I'll respond and may start a conversation

Zandria said...

I used to avoid conversations with strangers as much as possible. Now they're much easier for me -- I credit being on an online dating site for the past 15 months.

Jamie said...

I think I answered your question on Saturday...