I love coming into the middle of conversations. You get to hear the oddest statements and then try to figure out how the conversers got to a place where that statement made sense. For instance, this is what I overheard the 4-year-old saying:
Elvis isn’t dead, he’s American.
Now, granted, he’s four and maybe there’s no conversation in which that statement made sense. Both my boys have absolute certainty in areas they know nothing about and are wont to make supreme declarations of truth that go something like “It can’t be a full moon tonight because the socks on my floor are pointing North, so clearly, Mom, you are wrong.” Ask them a question about pretty much anything, and they’ll give you the facts as they absolutely know them to be. Unless, it’s “Who ate my dark chocolate Caramilk bar?” Don’t expect a straight answer on that one.
I don’t pretend to be a Middle of the Conversation Listener of professional status, however. That honour has to go to my Dad. He is the unchallenged King of Coming Into the Middle of a conversation. Usually he waits until someone spits out an interesting word like ‘sex,’ or ‘plumb line’, and then makes a whole set of assumptions about what must have come before that to get to that word. His real genius though is in his ability to stitch two unrelated conversations, neither of which he’s been attending to, into one. So, for instance, if one conversation was about the state of Aunt Isabel’s health and another conversation was about the state of Gertrude’s home renovation, and someone over here says ‘lumbago’ and someone over here says ‘varnish,’ Dad will interject with “They can cure lumbago with extract of varnish?”
God love him.
The man did lay an entire floor of hardwood in my house, so I won’t needle him too badly.
Except to note that the last time we drove by Rona, the four-year-old asked if that was where Grandad worked. I guess when you’re observed to be going to a certain place pretty regularly, in the four-year-old’s world, that must be where you work.
This is a perfect depiction of what a conversation is like at my family’s dining room table (with eight kids, various signficant others, grandkids, and a professional Middle of the Conversation Listener, you can just imagine. The good part starts at 4:30.