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Strangling Conversation
December 27, 2003 — 8:16 pm

I’ve written before, briefly, about my tendency to clam up in most group conversations: “It always seems to me like I’m more involved in conversations than I really am, actively caught up in the flow of what others are saying, only realizing later that I didn’t contribute much in the way of real, actual words to the discussion.” Even more recently, while recalling our conversation at an Adams Morgan diner after the last Blogorama, Tim Lee remembered me as “the relatively quiet one” — true enough, although I suspect I was as mentally wrapped up in the conversation as anyone else . . .

About a month ago, while visiting Justin’s place for Thanksgiving, I read Steve Martin’s latest novella, The Pleasure of My Company. Since it’s about a guy with OCD I recognize many of the protagonist’s character traits with at least passing familiarity. But this paragraph reflects my own conversational habits almost perfectly:

The difference now between me and Clarissa was that she was yakking and I was thinking. I felt I was in conversation with her; but my end of the dialogue never got spoken. So my brilliant comments, retorts, and summaries stayed put in my cortex, where only I would appreciate their clever spins and innuendos.

It’s one of those rare moments when it feels like someone has a microscope pointed at your psyche, explicating something intimately familiar — but which you’ve never seen put into words before.

— Eric D. DixonComments (0)

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Eric D. Dixon

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