26 November 2010

Sit a Spell

To have a conversation: Chat. Gab. Chew the fat. Confab. Visit. Schmooze. Natter. Shoot the breeze.

My friends and I try to get together at least once a month to have lunch. We all lead busy lives and this is a way for us to stay in touch. I find that we learn more about one another over a casual meal than we might have in other contexts of our lives. At church or at work we have duties to fulfill, things to see to, and distractions aplenty. At home, we may have a few minutes before the next round of chaos begins. But in the lunch place, using the time we have blocked out, we sit across from one another and just talk.

This kind of talk serves a number of worthy purposes. It gives us a touchstone to measure the normalcy of our lives. If Gayle and Eileen and Vicki are all experiencing the same frustrations, then maybe I'm not alone or abnormal after all. We pass around useful advice: I saw the best sale on mushroom soup, store A had grapes as big as your head. When I used this lotion, my dry hands cleared right up. Try putting a glass of water by the bed... you get the idea.

Our talk is often practical, but sometimes it's fun. We trade stories from when we were young. We weren't young all in the same place, which makes it that much more interesting. By sharing memories, we can almost feel what it would have been like to grow up together.

A friend just moved away. When she first came to us, she hated the place. She was lonely for her family, she felt shut out of the ebb and flow. But some of the outgoing of us drew her in. It wasn't long before our jokes were her jokes and she lent sass and sparkle to our old ways as well. It is the way friendships grow bonds between us. When this friend then had to leave us to go onward, it threw her all over again. I find myself hoping her natural wit and pizzazz will bubble to the surface once more. For that to happen, she needs to talk to like minded people at the other end of the road. People who will re-establish her, and give her a base, and draw her into the new way of doing. And soon she will be at home. It just takes the right table at the right restaurant with the right conversation, and suddenly the world doesn't feel so strange, and we don't feel so much like strangers.

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