Sy Safransky wrote, “Placing certain quotations together is like seating strangers around a dinner table; you can’t be sure where the conversation will lead.”
In the early 70’s, we used to pick up hitchhikers, take them home, feed them, and let them “crash” on the floor for the night in a safe place. That was in the days when the local police would pick “those d___ hippies” up, charge them with vagrancy (the law stated you were a vagrant if you had less than $50 on you), throw them in jail for the night (which meant they could then shave their head), and then escort them to the other end of town in the morning. There were many strangers around our dinner table, and many of the conversations led to lifelong friendships and memories.
In the 90’s, I took a cross country train ride alone. I had not yet experienced the Amtrak dinner car. You are seated at the dinner tables according to the line you are standing in. The “strangers” in front of you, or behind, or both fill all the seats at each table in turn. The first time can feel a little awkward, but to me, the conversations were delightful. If you aren’t afraid to ask questions, people are more than happy to answer , usually quite honestly, because you are interested and every person has a story to tell.
Now, in the 2010’s, I have found all you “strangers” of the blogosphere and wonder where the these “conversations” will lead. There is so much to ponder.
What happened to the dinner table anyway? Or the drawing room? Or even the quieter bar table where you could actually hear each other speak?
So I am just going to throw thoughts, quotes, and interesting facts out there. Please add your own. If nothing else, I’ll be ready for the next conversation, should there be one.
BE FRIENDS WITH YOURSELF FIRST.
13 thoughts on “Monday Conversations”
I love this. My dad was a big believer in the dinner table. We spent hours ensuring its proper setting, cooking delicious food and then opening our doors to friends and strangers alike. As a child, the loosened tongues of inebriated adults was both fascinating and scary. Often, when they were distracted enough, I would sneak sips and get rather spacey myself. I got to thinking of myself as an adult. I took pains to comport myself as such, which was both detrimental and helpful to my development.
Anyhoo, I like you site, introduced to me by SammyD at bemuzin. I am a follower now. Looking forward to more yarns and table side tales.
So just today I read: “We often measure life by the number of new experiences we accumulate; Vermonters measure what remains steady. There are good years and bad years in sap production or the number of deer weighed in at Sherman’s store, but each of us is expected to measure up in the eyes of our neighbors. That’s the golden rule in country living, a sense of self and place in service of others, a formula that can be calculated right down to the last decimal place.” – Christopher Kimball
Obviously, conversations are like my projects, always some not quite done and always more in the making.
Linda – I finished my piece to feature a few links to your posts. It will publish this Saturday, May 17th. I hope a few of my readers will like you as much as I do 🙂 Just the first of many A to Zers I want to thank for sharing the ride!
Oh, thank you, you are too kind and so supportive. I hope to get re-organized again and spend more time on more postings but life keeps interfering. I am beginning to get a rhythm going. Thank you so much again for all your support and encouragement.
🙂 your blogs are very enjoyable.
Also, the community tables have disappeared from our health food restaurants. Why?
Oh Sammy, that is a whole ‘nother conversation. Community! To be avoided at all costs. It is all about “me”. I will not share anything, not even a table. Someone might see the “real” me, I might be held accountable for “something”, someone might have more than me, I might be judged, I might not be good enough…..
Even when people are at the table with their own family they are ignoring each other and texting someone they may not even know or taking pics of their coffee cup and posting them on facebook.
It is not easy to be part of any community. Again, you must face yourself, face others, be accountable, learn to compromise, and just “play nice”, learn to disagree without degradation and abuse.
You are so right. Human interaction is difficult, and we’ve made it so easy to avoid with electronic distractions. I’m haven’t let electronics takeover when I am with people, but I have pulled in from social interaction. It’s just hard to find meaning in so much “noise”.
One of the things I liked best about our European travels was the absence of music –
loud or otherwise – in restaurants. I cannot express how peaceful those meals were with nothing but the clink of silverware against dishes and the mix of soft voices as conversations ebbed and flowed at tables. It was so civilized and relaxing.
If I could change one thing about the States, it would be the constant blare of noise (can barely call it music) emanating from speakers in doctors’ offices, stores, banks, restaurants, grocery markets. I don’t understand it.
I absolutely agree. That is also why I still don’t have a cell phone. There were years of my younger life when I couldn’t stand the quiet and I couldn’t be alone, and I think that’s what all the chaos is about. If you stop and be quiet and listen, then you also have to face yourself, listen to yourself. It is much easier to avoid it all.
That is so true. I think of one dear friend, in particular, who is constantly on the go, over-scheduling and never caught up. I am positive she’s terrified to be alone with herself because then she’d have to look at her own insecurities and the state of her marriage.
BTW i love your idea of Monday conversations. Am still thinking about what I would add to the conversation about being my own best friend.
What a lovely ramble with you as sat down to sup with with strangers over the decades. Didn’t know all that about hitchhikers! Thanks for sharing that slice of time.
Thank you. I’ve noticed that I ramble more and more, and am finding that my sharing is doing the same.