It’s a miracle that as many as do are able to get along in conversation. I saw some people recently that I hadn’t seen in a number of years – they were swarmed by well-wishers who also hadn’t seen them in a long time. Time may not heal wounds, but time sure seemed to put – in this case – angry words of days gone by in to perspective. Perhaps this is a relationship that is being rekindled.
Another example – being at a lunch table with teenagers on one side and people in their 70s on the other. Wow! That is a tough age gap to bridge. This particular encounter went okay but in other instances, it was really a challenge to come up with something that a 75 year old and an 18 year old were able to politely discuss.
And finally, there are the funny but awkward conversations that occasionally occur between someone who is precise, technical, and specific and another who is verbose, generalizes, and speaks in hyperbole. This is the conversation that tries to answer the question, “What time is it?” with, “It’s precisely, in ten seconds, 7:15pm” versus “Oh, around about a quarter past seven.” How funny but – and I’ve seen this – these kinds of discussions can make people mad at each other. They are on two different wavelengths. They are communicating without resonance, understanding, or meaning at each other.
I saw a recent headline announcing a TV conversation (of sorts) between two people who were on polar opposites of an issue. The headline went something like this – “Watch Joe Shuck And Bill Bing Talking At And Over Each Other.”