I have admitted to being socially inept, but the problem is broader than what I let on in the previous post about those phoney social situations. The truth is that I am pretty well out of social sync at any time or place. I'm not much of a conversationalist, but, at times I try – only to fall inevitably and ineluctably in a smoky conflagration out of the bright, azure sky.
To wit: Cuppa and I rode with a seniors cycling club a few times this past summer. Being the magnificent physical specimens that we are — okay, the truth is that they were really old — we usually found ourselves out in front, often way out in front. On one occasion, I decided to make a determined effort to hang back, try to be sociable and engage in some converse.
I found myself pedalling beside Ron, and I made an effort to connect with him in chitchat. I found that we had both hailed from Montreal, me a lot longer ago, but it was a point of commonality … or so I thought. I showed or thought that I showed an interest in him by getting him to talk about himself. In fact, I was pretty pleased with my effort.
Apparently, however, he was unimpressed, for at the first opportunity he dropped back to chat with the guy behind us. I suppose that I could have followed suit and extended my attempts at conviviality, but I decided to cut my losses and moved up to the front of the pack (would you believe the peloton?) with Cuppa. As we pedalled along, I realized that I had done all of the carrying of the
conversation attempt at conversation. He had replied to my probing but never asked me one flippin thing about me or tried to extend the conversation in any way.
It's certainly not the first time that's happened to me. At one of our local dances, we found ourselves sitting with neighbours, and I made similar attempts to talk to the guy when we found ourselves shoulder to shoulder at the table. While he didn't blow me off, the rest of the tale was similar. I made the attempts; he responded and was probably pleased to talk about himself and his work, but there was no reciprocation. He answered but never asked, and I'm not very good at the whole thing and can only go so far before I don't know what else to talk about and silence ensues.
So, there you have it. If you ever meet me, I'll likely be tongue-tied and awkward. Give me break though (will ya?), and talk to me. I'm really not such a bad guy. Really.