Despite all the electronic goodies, conversation is the key

At the meeting of my book club this week I gave a report on “The Life of Pi.”  I mentioned that there was a survivor’s manual in the lifeboat that had some valuable information for anyone caught in that situation or where survival was paramount.  One particular comment I found interesting and useful for all times. “Your body can be a hero in battle.”  I don’t much like the wordbattle, but then one can think in terms of the battle for life, for health for whatever.

Arriving at my apartment building after the meeting, I stepped out of the elevator on my floor right into a puddle of water I didn’t see until too late and my foot slipped out from under me.  My arms were crooked carrying things and both elbows were facing the floor.  I knew if I fell (which I was in the process of doing) I would land on my back and my left elbow.  That would be bad.  At that point, every muscle in my body seemed to come together to keep me upright, and instead pitched me against the wall to the left where I could regain my footing.  I got away, shaken and with two gashes in my arm, but no broken elbow or hurt back..  My body, my hero.

When my son was growing up, like some boys his growth came in a sudden burst when he was around 12.  Once in a conversation, probably about getting into fights, he told me not to worry because his legs were his secret weapon.  I asked for an explanation, thinking he must have learned some oriental fighting mode that I did not know. He said, “They’re long and fast, and I can outrun the other kids.”  I was relieved.

Assuming one is fit and not foolhardy, you should not underestimate the resources of your body.   Of course, that is not necessary in some places in the world — you don’t have to rely on your wits or your body, you simply carry a gun and, if things get tough, you use it.

This has become a controversial issue, the resolution of which, will probably take years, if there is a resolution.

Meanwhile, there are other things in life – important things, like friends, and the gathering of friends enjoying good conversation around good food. (As an aside, I think the proliferation of talk shows on U.S. television is the result of the lack of meaningful conversation among people in person.  After all, how in depth can you get in 140-odd letter tweet or in a text message?)  I don’t know how to do either because there is something very special about actually seeing the person who is talking or even who is listening.  Add to that an absolutely delicious five-course dinner that includes fresh asparagus and it doesn’t get much better for me.

That happened one day this week, and on another day, I had dinner at a restaurant with two dear women friends.  We arrived at 12:30 and decided, sometime after 3, that we should leave because it was obvious the restaurant was closing for a breather for the workers between lunch and dinner.

My son recently said that he has read and heard that women talk more than men.  He lives in an apartment and the apartment next to his is occupied by two women.  He said he could not hear what they were saying, but he could hear that they were talking and they talked constantly when they were home from work, CONSTANTLY.  How could they possibly have that much to talk about to never stop!  I just laughed and assured him that finding what to talk about was not a problem for women.

Every woman I have told this to, also laughs.  Maybe that is what we all need is more talking to one another, not in a threatening way but because we are sincerely interested in what the other person is saying or because we have something to say.  Our voice boxes, after all, are part of our bodies.

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