Where have all the Conversationalists gone?
Last Wednesday I was feeling good, the sun was out, I was in my favourite part of downtown and I felt inspired and alive - kind of like my good old manic days that would last for weeks. The ones where I'd start four businesses, thrift shop for 12 hrs straight and forget to eat. Am I in denial to miss that? Anyway, feeling so inspired and alive, I automatically thought of my friend Ken and our hours long vintage and fashion conversations so I headed off to shoot the shit with him down at Deluxe - then I remembered Ken was dead. So I thought, well Rod will be there, I'll go shoot the shit with him, then I remembered Deluxe was gone - closed due to a $3000 a month rent hike. Okay, no need to get down, I'll go talk design with someone at Inform. Well, the only bodies at Inform were ones glued to computer screens behind cash desks. Five bucks they're practicing the snobby sales technique identified in the UBC study, Should the Devil Sell Prada? Retail Rejection Increases Aspiring Consumers’ Desire for the Brand?
Well whatever, not yet feeling deflated I thought, 'Okay I'll go sit down and have a coffee somewhere.' Somewhere conversation was already flowing and I could at least be part of it. Uh, since when are coffee shops so quiet? Not one person was engaged in vocal conversation with anyone. Not because they were glued to a book, or writing, or staring off into space thinking, but because their heads were bent down staring into their phones. Holy crap people get with it. My public library has more conversation going on! I left without buying a coffee (or tipping someone for bending their arm beyond 85 degrees).
Highly irritated, I turned around and headed back home. On my way, a homeless man complimented me, (hoping to run into you, I'd put a little extra effort in that day). I turned around and said, 'Thanks.' He said, 'Anytime, sweetheart'. So, from now on when I want to have a conversation, face to face with someone, I can feel confident the homeless guy at Water and Cambie will participate - and I bet he has a hell of a lot more stories and opinions to share than the dipsticks glued to their screens. What's that old saying, 'All text and no talk makes Jack a dull boy'?
God, I miss hanging out and just talking.
image: Simone Signoret, Marilyn Monroe, Arthur Miller, Yves Montand