Well, I took a month off from blogging. Lots of reasons for this abstinence. Right up there near the top of the list is the fact that I felt I was running out of fresh things to say. That's never good if you're conversation-obsessed as I am.
But the hiatus may be over. When I returned to my office from lunch today with Organization-maven Julie Morgenstern, I passed a young woman wearing a Tshirt that said: "When I want a mindless conversation, I'll let you know."
That Tshirt comment got me thinking on several levels. One of them is the general rudeness of Tshirt-speak, the idea that what you might be reluctant to say to someone directly, you can get away with saying to the world via your Talking Shirt. On another level I found myself musing about to whom the message is intended. Does this young woman feel that most people she meets have nothing to say? And, further, that they waste her time in engaging her in conversation?
If so, I would suggest she doesn't appreciate the fact that conversations are two sided (or more) and both parties need to "pay to play." Mindless conversation requires two people who have nothing to say. Just one person talking isn't enough...it's when we engage with someone that the exchange has the possibility--but no guarantee--of turning into a true conversation. So if someone says something we regard as mindless we have two options: either ignore them, or make the effort to turn it into a conversation by responding with something mindful.
Maybe there should be a conversation course taught in our schools. We could do worse than raising kids who not only have something to say, but also enjoy exchanging mindful--not mindless--discourse with others.