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I don’t pretend to be a skilled talker…

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So take the following datum

less seriously.

(There will be no footnotes.)

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All people are basically energized in one of two ways:

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(1) By interacting with people before starting to think for themselves, or

(2) By thinking by themselves before interacting with people.

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For more use the DOOR.

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[MORE]

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   Neither posture is bad in itself, so I believe. In fact I heard this first on a Christian radio program, Chapel of the Air, decades ago.

   An example of what I mean for (1) is Rosie O’Donnell, the liberal TV celebrity and activist who once I heard say, “I couldn’t bear to not be around people for more than a half hour, because it would drive me crazy.” Of course, that’s pretty extreme, but some are truly energized by the people they associate with. At the other extreme (2) is myself. I’m at my best when I start off alone with myself–with my dreams and my thinking–with God looking in, of course, and I’m sure not always pleased.

   After that I “go out” and “share” informally usually, struggling not to be a pest (a “vanchi” in the novel I’m working on) or obnoxious.

   (That’s all behind the scattered ideas I suggested in my last post. I’m not really a yakker, and am pretty content by myself much of the time.

   That said, let me add another datum (to the previous “datum”). To practice the kind of conversation (beginning with “table talk” at a relaxed meal), here’s a suggestion that’s worked for me. The place is a cruise dining room. There are 6 or 10 or so at the table you’ve been seated at. The smells are delightful and you’re wrestling with the menu with an overly kind waiter hoping for an eventual good tip before your final landfall. Everybody’s a bit wondering about what’s next. You’re not. Conversation is cautious, prudent. Names are exchanged and most are quickly forgotten. The person next to you is unusually quiet. Perhaps the perfect victim. Softly, you offer something just loud enough for couple of others to overhear, something like, “What did you have to leave behind to get here?” or “Did you have to sneak away, too?” Of course, details about excursions, games, or ship activities are not off limits. Your game? to get the quiet one to open up–without pain–in a way he didn’t expect, but will enjoy.

   Your ace in the hole? This won’t last forever. You can finally get back to yourself, maybe a bit richer for the adventure.

   If things screw up, so what. You or he can change seatings for the next meal. But on cruises I’ve often found my wife and myself at the last table to leave after the meal. And yes, I’m eager to climb back into my familiar shell.

   I’m going on a cruise in two days (from my writing this). Where to? I’ll ask my wife as we board the boat.

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Happy Birthday, Andrew!