The Art Of Lost Conversation

At WalaWala last night one of my friends was bemoaning the fact that she doesn't talk to people about deep topics any more: philosophy, literature, politics... Her conversations are getting more and more superficial. As an indicator of that is her reading matter, which has similarly slipped, passing through stages from Dostoyesvsky and the Great Russian Novels, Scientific American (she's a scientist) and whichever is the more high-brow of Stern or Der Speigel (she's German), through to Vogue and Elle, and now she finds she's reading People and trashy novels.

I asked to her move her head becasue she was partially blocking my view of the TV screen. It was showing some Aussie Rules football match. I semi-agreed, only half listening.

Then, as The Western Bulldogs clawed their way to a draw against The Saints, I felt a bit half-semi-offended because, hey, it's ME (and her husband-to-be among others) she's been talking to these last five years...

Ah, it's a case of something I saw at Gabriel's blog recently:

"No one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a while you'll see why." - Mignon McLaughlin


Then after copious beers and when we had started on the Jagermeister shots, said husband-to-be (and birthday boy) decided to psychoanalyse mild mannered E@L .

"Here's why you don't have girlfriend..."

"Because I'm not looking for one?"

"No. Maybe. Because you set up barriers, you don't let people in. You don't open yourself fully to potential dates, you don't let women get close. You do this by treating everyone equally nicely."

Except taxi-drivers. (Lots of anti-taxidriver sentiment in Singapore lately, not just me: i.e. Today.)

They seem to get disproportionately angry when you have merely told them to "fuck off" because they wouldn't let you put your IKEA (pronounced "ickier" in Singapore ) shelves in the front seat. OR they try to charge you an extra $9 for the privelege. Fuck off again. Grumpy old cheebye.

"And you divert from the topic when it gets too close to the truth."

"Really? WOW! Did you see that guy on the skateboard on the TV, he must have fallen 60 feet! Amazing! Another drink birthday boy?"



Posted by: expat@large on Aug 04, 07 | 1:28 pm | Profile


Trust you to find that Today article!

Posted by: knobby on Aug 04, 07 | 6:34 pm

I had the most brilliant taxi driver when I broke my elbow...he was simply fantastic...but I agree with the article...they never stop.

As for conversation...I seem to recall that yours and mine seem to reflect around PLA.

Posted by: Indiana on Aug 05, 07 | 12:19 pm

Trouble in the Taxi Queue last night - guy with a Limo came up and offered me a $25 ride home.

"This is not good system for you," he said.
"There is a good system already, it's called the Meter system. You should give it a go," I replied.
"But look at the queue, so long meh?" he said.
"Well if you get back into your taxi, take the people in the front of the queue where they want to go, it will be shorter won't it? Plus you'll be making money, which you're not doing just hanging around here looking for suckers."

The queue moved quickly as a lot of taxis were coming and as I got mine about 5 mins later, in he and his buddies was still there. I called out, "Hey, no need for $25 ride tonight." (mumbles -- Ya cheebye fucker...)

PLA are a highly cultural topic.

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 05, 07 | 1:00 pm

I'm only commenting to be nice.

Posted by: Dick on Aug 07, 07 | 5:51 am

So when are going to get a girlfriend? We're not getting any younger you know....


Posted by: Skippy-san on Aug 07, 07 | 10:56 am

Dick: ta.

Skip: I'm going to try pick up chicks at the Opera next month.

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 07, 07 | 6:48 pm

Since any single post on E@L's blog is far more popular than my entire blog will ever be, I'm going to hijack it to broadcast a message to the world (thanks, Phil :p)

Have a couple of tickets to a French film going abegging. 8 pm tonight at Alliance Francaise (2 hours from now). Anyone interested? Take one or both, I don't really care.

Posted by: knobby on Aug 07, 07 | 6:55 pm

Knobby: dude, this is a perfect example of what this post is about. People just don't talk anymore. Why didn't you just call or SMS me? I was free, having a nap at home actually after a busy and tiring day...

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 08, 07 | 12:15 am

Coz you told me yesterday that you were busy all week at SGH! Sounded pretty rough. Didn't want to bug you!

Posted by: knobby on Aug 08, 07 | 1:17 am

Doesn't mean all night! I was home by 6.

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 08, 07 | 1:32 am

And you don't obsessively check your comments log?

Posted by: knobby on Aug 08, 07 | 1:40 am

I was in the land of nod at just the time you posted... I don't live on the internet you know! (depite evidence to the contrary!) My phone was working though...

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 08, 07 | 1:46 am

wow..the things i miss getting ready for a wedding! and living in georgia...

IF i were single, i would date you BECAUSE you're smart, witty, funny as hell and even more importantly, you care about those around you!

btw, did you check out that eyewitness paris guide? i still owe you an email re hotels in monparnasse

Posted by: savannah on Aug 08, 07 | 5:52 am

> I was in the land of nod at just the time you posted

Ah, so desu ne.

Posted by: knobby on Aug 08, 07 | 7:19 am

Sav: I were single... hang on I AM single... but I don't date, it distracts me from blogging. And playing chess with Mercer Machine, and watching really weird movies like EL Topo and The Holy Mountain.

Haven't been bookshopping since, but I know those guides... Gotta do the hotel booking this weekend.

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 09, 07 | 4:33 pm

sooooooo. did you do it? just back from the west coast and the #3 son's lovely wedding...

2 of my favs in the montparnasse
hotel delambre

atelier montparnasse

Posted by: savannah on Aug 14, 07 | 6:39 am

Thanks Sav: both are really close to the cemetry where Beckett is buried!

I think I'll make the whole trip a giant momento mori and check out all the famous cemeteries rather than the art galleries.

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 14, 07 | 12:14 pm


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