<!-- December 7, 2003 -->
I'm doing it again.
Sitting with my new friend, my latest victim. My mouth moving at a hundred miles an hour.
I start with some interesting bits. Where I've been, what I've done, where I'm going. I talk about things I've learned on my travels - life is what you make it and other less-than-revolutionary ideals that I put forward as my own personal discoveries; new and unheard-of before I've dazzled them with it. Hardly. But they were epiphanies of truth to me that I've discovered meaning in on my travels...
But, when met with silence, I panic and the conversation quickly degrades.
My mind races. I talk about my operation when I was 16 when I almost died from a burst appendix but lived and got hooked on morphine. And how that illness likely saved me from anorexia. And about getting braces when I was 25. And playing soccer for 13 years. And about all my back problems and how I do yoga and pilates to try to improve it. About my frequent three-day migraines and the crazy medications I've used to combat it.
About my family - me and my sister's travelling history, her recent trip and romance in Brazil; missing my mom and wanting to talk to her about her latest run-in with a life coach and how down she's been lately and how alike we are. I talk about recent catering gigs at which the men were kissing my hand and telling me I'm the best waitress they've ever had. And how they invited me to come stay with them in their various corners of the country.
And I'm listening to myself thinking, "My God. Shut UP." But I can't. I keep going.
About my psycho cat who swallows sewing needles and then bites through my finger at the vet's. Who bit my face before I learned how to deal with an aggressive player. The guy I met on the east coast who's in town and has offered to do a car-relocation with me to WA. About being lonely on the road. About missing my bed and music and my cat and my mom and my shower. About how Aussies are such a big sporting nation and how you can turn on the TV on a Saturday or Sunday and have all five channels of nothing but sport. About abseiling in the Blue Mountains, rocking climbing in Brisbane, scuba diving in Queensland and surfing in Byron Bay. About my one try at the driving range and how I used to row and my karaoke act and swing dancing and how I wanted to be a princess when I was three.
It's all coming out and I'm thinking, "God, what am I SAYING?!" And I want to stop, want to ask them about something so they can talk, but all I can think of are personal questions they might not wanna answer or questions about what they wanna do with their life that they might not be ABLE to answer or stupid questions that sound like I'm really trying to make conversation. And I know I should just do it anyway. And I do. And they're talking, telling me about their life, their thoughts and I love it. I want to know all about them... and they pause and I'm off again, telling them about my crazy ex and bad dates.
How did this happen? How did I end up talking again? Stop stop stop but I can't.
I'm reminded of another drunken conversation that I couldn't remember the finer details of and had to ask the next morning "I know we had a conversation but I can't remember what we talked about."
"A conversation," he replied wryly, "Would imply there were two people talking..."
And I'm embarrassed because I know that it's true. I'm incessant. And I'm fearing now that he's reading it as a sense of self importance, finding myself so interesting and enjoying the sound of my own voice and not caring what he has to say. This is the opposite of the truth. Closer to the truth to say I find myself uninteresting and that he might find out if I stop talking. He might discover I'm boring.
I try hard to be entertaining, to put people at ease. To tell them all the ridiculous things I've done and said so that maybe they can relate to me better. I am afraid of the silence lest they may think we have nothing talk about.
Quite contrarily, I am very interested in what they have to say. I am just maniacally trying to make them feel more comfortable opening up to me by completely dumping on them. Quite ridiculously, of course, but with the best of intentions.
I am thinking now he must think I have the worst case of verbal diarrhea. Which perhaps I do. So I lapse into awkward silence hoping, wishing that I was one of those people that everyone wants to talk to. Those people who always say the right things and make everyone around them feel important and smart and interesting - as I actually DO find my companion.
I want to explain why I do this but I know that they will just look at me like I'm a raving lunatic - which perhaps I am. Do I explain that I'm nervous or will that just make it worse? On the other hand, it might let them know that I'm not always this over-the-top and they might forgive my perceived self absorption. In the end I choose not to - just to save what shred of dignity I have left. Instead I smile at my ridiculousness and try to forgive myself, hoping that they will forget I've rattled on about cheating boyfriends and all things Canadian and made fun of Aussie-isms. Because it is in fact THEN that I've scraped bottom and wondered how I can stuff those words back into my mouth, replacing them with how I really feel about Australia and how wonderful people have been to me here and how much it has all meant to me and how happy I am that I've met them.
But there is nothing to be done but hope that next time I will have enough restraint to hold my tongue long enough to draw out their life stories and embarrassing moments. That is, if they ever dare to brave the verbal storm again...
Sunny, 25+ degrees
Goose Girl By Joy Dettman