Ask any new blogger and he/she will tell you that one of the most pleasant ways to begin a morning is to open your blogpage and find a comment waiting for you. If you don’t like it (the comment), you just hit the delete button and that’s the end of the story.
Sometimes, though, it’s like opening a present on Christmas morning, when you find just the right comment that keeps you going. I can go back and read it again and again, any time I get discouraged, so it’s the gift that keeps on giving. And I don’t have to dust it or find a place to put it. Thanks to Ruthe at fat-old-artist and Claudia of Fried Okra Productions for my last two presents.
Even if it’s an opposing view, as with some comments on my writing on universal healthcare and rights for women and gays, it’s okay, because they gave me another chance to further clarify my position. Very seldom will you ever change any minds in these arguments anyhow (unless you’re a celebrity the likes of Paris or Britney) so I just settle for feeling better that I’m not backing down, and that “I have the courage of my convictions.” (I stole that line right out of the mouth of a Miss America contestant from the late ’60s; been using it ever since!)
I come from a family of story tellers. Hubby didn’t meet them before he married me; if he had he might have realised early on he was getting himself into a pickle, and that learning to listen to my stories would take all the patience he could muster for the next 20 to 60 (dare I hope more?) years.
If you’ve ever known any southerners well enough that they were willing to talk you, you probably know how they love to draw everything they have to say into a long story. If you’ve ever known any Indians (from India), on the other hand, then you know how fast they talk, so you can appreciate how impatient Hubby gets when I’m trying to talk to him. He has actually used the directorial “wrap it up, out of time” sign on me when I’m in the middle of one of my stories.
It’s not always possible for me to gage the level of interest by my listener’s apparent attention either. Years ago, when I was fresh out of the south and still thinking I could emulate my “yankee” friends in Pittsburgh, I noticed one woman who always seemed quite spellbound as I talked. I was terribly flattered until one day she said something on the order of:
“Did you know that when you talk, the end of your nose bobs up and down?”
Well, no I didn’t. And gee! Thanks for calling it to my attention. After that, for a long time every time I opened my mouth, I wondered if people were listening to me or getting their jollies by watching my nose bob up and down. Then one day, she inadvertently gave me something new to worry about:
“Do all you southerners think as slow as you talk?”
Well! I’d never thought of that! But change it? I might could practice, but I’ll never talk fast like a yankee or an Indian. As Claudia said in the comment I mentioned above, “practice makes POSSIBLE, not perfect.” You might as well ask a skunk to change his stripes from up-and-down his back and tail, to across from-side-to-side.
Then we retired, and I began to blog. No longer do I have to think about people watching my nose bob up and down as I talk, OR wonder if I think too slow–which, with very little stretch of the imagination, might actually mean are you intelligent. If you’re reading this, you have no idea how long it took me to think up these words, or whether I actually plagiarized them! And you have no idea how long my nose is, or how prominent.
Hubby can choose whether or not he wants to read, rather than listen to, my latest story, and I don’t have to try and talk fast so I can get it out before he runs out of time. In fact, there are some days he sees me so little, he begins to wonder where I’ve disappeared to. Sometimes he calls out to find me and ask what I’m doing. I always answer, “just fiddlin’ around.” See? Simple and quick!
On another positive side, it leaves him free NOT to worry about any chores that need doing (because I hardly notice such things anymore); neither does he have to consider whether he should share TV remote control privileges, or generally harrass me. It also leaves plenty of free time for him to yield to his creative side in the kitchen as he prepares breakfast or fruit smoothies for me. (He made me write that last line, I swear!)
Even more positive, it gives him lots of time to do sudoku puzzles, read his political blogs, and make real beer, not the 3% stuff Utah sells in the grocery stores, plus he can go to all the meetings he has in spite of retiring (community council, medical care advisory committee for Utah, Osher curriculum) because, after 40 years of working rife with meetings, old habits die hard!
And new habits become established with a little help from my friends. Thanks to all of you who take the time to comment. There’s a graveyard in Florida where a lot of my relatives can now roll back over in their graves, secure in their hereafter knowing that the storytelling tradition they implanted is still alive and well through a new-fangled technology-assisted thing called “blogging.” (Except that they would have called it bullsh**ing.)