All my life I’ve struggled with the spoken word. Anytime I engage in conversation, I’ve got a litany of words streaming through my head, Matrix-like, and must sort through them in order to ensure what I’m about to say lends proper weight, meaning, gravitas. At the same time, I’m aware most people couldn’t care less. But I can’t alter who I am at whim. Meanwhile I cringe as others begin drifting away, looking furtively from side to side as though they want to be anywhere but inside of this suddenly far-too-complex interaction.

While making conversation might be easy for some, consider the bane of a thesaurus-like brain. If you really can’t or don’t want to stretch your imagination, simply consider the paradox that is the (American) English language. (This should  be easy for those of you for whom English is your second language.) Although I have passing knowledge of French and Spanish, I lack fluency, though I’d like to believe there are languages out there that make it easier to say what one means and thus to mean what one says. Spoken (American) English seems facile only if one does not seek to use it too creatively.

Take for instance the greeting, How are you? Really, and I’ve found this to be disappointingly true, most folks don’t want to know how I am. Instead they simply desire the briefest of intercourse, want mirrored back to them that all is well in their world. Thus I have discovered the proper answer is simply Great! or Fine! or Fabulous! Or if I haven’t the stomach for perfidy, I can always get away with a simple Okay. (Period. Or dot-dot-dot.) More than the most cursory reply seems to hold little interest, and I can’t bear dismissive looks anyway. The word pleasantries does not really fit and yet its meaning does: inconsequential banter, though I don’t find it pleasant in the least; do forgive my honesty. I find it banal and shallow.

Consider the word discriminate. I do not discriminate based on color, gender, sexual proclivity or religious viewpoint. But I do discriminate when it comes to the quality of my interactions. If I didn’t, I’d ramble on to a four year-old about my future plans for education or my mother’s bad knees. If I did not discriminate, I might find myself in a dangerous situation. Or I might choose eggs when I really wish I would have eaten the chicken instead, though this is purely metaphor, being vegetarian these days. All this before I open my mouth.

While I strive not to judge others knowing it is unfair, if I do not judge anything about them or about myself, if I fail to have opinions about human behavior or with regard to various life situations, I’d never be able to write. Anything. At all. It’s simply the way I’m wired.


29 thoughts on “Run-on

    1. Oh, thanks, I do as well! This theme, however, picks up its own random color from the image posted – so it’s only coincidence that the colors have been close for awhile now (sunsets, ocean views …). I had another post all ready today, but I chose this one instead beCAUSE of the colors – I liked them that much! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I am sorry to hear that you have trouble conversing and articulating your thoughts into words, Bela. I too dislike pleasantries and the whole idea of it. I suppose for one, I’m shy and secondly, I really like to keep my distance around people I don’t know too well. Sometimes this can be mistaken as being stand-offish and prudish but I try to not let that bother me. I am not a huge fan of the How are you? question either. It is such a loaded question, and I think a lot of people ask it to start a conversation or just to keep it moving. Or maybe it is a polite question, something someone asks so as to take an interest in the other person – and they don’t really want to know how you really are.

    That said, it’s a question that can be up to interpretation and usually you can give any answer you like 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mabel, you are so sweet, always taking the time to thoroughly examine people’s writing and to thoughtfully comment on it. Many, many thanks for that and I truly appreciate your respectful attention – how lucky am I? 😉

      At 63 years old, I don’t know if I would describe myself as shy, but perhaps this was an overlooked quality when I was a child. I have always enjoyed nature and being by myself to ponder the depths of things, rather than the shallows. But I also genuinely like people, though not necessarily everything in human nature – the degradation of the planet, the thoughtlessnessness and cruelties so carelessly given and the damage in their wake.

      I think education is key in elevating the species out of some of these baser instincts, and this doesn’t have to be traditional education. I don’t consider ignorance an excuse to treat others with disregard, and I think the use of language – whatever one’s language may be – is key in discovering that underneath the veneer, we are all One People.

      Aloha, Mabel – and many blessings for the coming year, even though we both know that New Year begins in February for the Chinese people. There are many celebrations locally and on the islands in general – so colorful and fun! There is lion dancing in the street of our tiny town and children everywhere looking for scattered treats and adults stuffing money into the lion’s mouth, hoping for a better future. But you know all about that! ❤


      1. I think shyness can be hard to pick up, and a lot of the time if we don’t speak much, others are quick to assume something it wrong with us. Like you, I also genuinely like people and spend a good deal of time observing them – even if I’m catching up with friends, I like to observe their body movements, where they look…and so that makes me quiet, lol 😀

        It is so heartening to hear that your town gets into the spirit of the Lunar New Year. It is certainly coming up soon, and hope you will be entertained by the show this year 🙂 ❤

        I am so looking forward to it and 2017 in general as this has been a challenging year. Looking forward to more posts from you soon ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well written Bela 💛The most creative and intelligent minds are the hardest to control in conversations. We think much faster than we talk!
    That’s my judgment at least 😉
    FYI – In the UK, “How are you?” is still used as a real question. Unfortunately most don’t realize it has become a banal habitual greeting here in the US. I recall, when I cam over I used to actually say how I was …until I noticed the squirming to get away.
    May we all be observers and recognize our judgments for what they are.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aloha, Val: I agree with the difference between Great Britain’s “How are you?” and that of the US. Perhaps it’s because we’re still an adolescent nation, I don’t know. When I was in Ireland recently, I rejoiced that propriety is alive and well in certain parts of the world, as it is here with folks native to the islands – not so much with mainland transplants. The minute I landed in Boston, all that changed – the entire mood of the airport was so different from Dublin! Gone was the mellow vibe of greeting others with a smile and sitting for a leisurely cuppa before boarding. Instead I returned to high pressure people glued to their phones and computers, screaming and gesturing to no one in particular. It was astonishing, the difference. So yes, we all possess judgments, and mindfulness is key. Happy New Year and thanks for your comments! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I more and more find myself thinking – even saying – “there’s a good word for it” while I can’t currently recall it. With the internet around I can, of course, usually turn up a related one and go raking through an on-line thesaurus. That’s fine when writing but when in conversation face-to-face that fall-back isn’t so easily available. Like you I like precision in verbiage and long for earlier days. Time to ease off, perhaps, and accept what is as what is. And may I direct you also to this:

        Liked by 1 person

      2. BN, thanks first for your thoughtful comments. This is always the way I have been, so no longing for earlier days on my part 😉 I wouldn’t go back in time for anything – always learning, always growing. For me, language ought to be Used, but in the US, things have fallen apart (well, obviously the rest of the world takes note!). I do think we must have employed more creative spoken language before aphorisms and acronyms gained such widespread use in everyday parlance, though I’m not sure. I grew up amongst an upper middle class that valued education and the arts. Was it the times? Or the people? I can’t say, for I left that place out of high school, when at 18, I moved the woods of Maine. I still remember speaking the way I normally did, only to have people look at me like I was a show-off, a snob. So I geared it down. When I went into the financial markets of the ’80’s and had to travel to and from Boston, I tripped over my tongue, trying to rediscover my use of language. Then we moved to Molokai in Hawaii, then the high desert of New Mexico, then back to Maine for a few years so the kids could finish their (exceptional) education, then back to Hawaii Island for what seems to be good. All those years of living in the woods, then on the islands with the ubiquitous use of Pidgin English, then in a Catalan Spanish community in NM … taught me that it’s okay not to use language to its fullest – it’s better to actually connect with people than to impress them with my language skills (HA! not that this was my goal!). Though I do miss speaking with people who use beautiful words that otherwise lie dormant in the dictionary. Trust this clarifies my intention in writing the piece 😉 Aloha, dear – and all the best in 2017!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Your closing paragraph is one that chimes with me, Bela. There really is so much nonsense peddled these days about the evils of judging. The brain is, in large part, a predictive organ; it anticipates the external world, including the nature of those it encounters within it. This is unavoidable. Of course, we don’t have to verbalise its manifold judgements and anticipations, but to pretend they don’t exist is disingenuous. I make judgments about people all the time, but I rarely take them seriously – it’s just the brain doing what the brain does. Take that dreadful Pink chap from France, for instance . . . 😉 H ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aloha Hariod, and of course I agree with you 😉 This is yet another beef I have with New Age thought, the didactic preach to simply release, forgive, drop judgments, breathe, flow, and all will be peace, love and flowers. (Now there is merit in these precepts, but let’s be reasonable about what it takes for any individual to grasp, and then embrace said suggestions both in part and in full.) In the end, I am a realist who also possesses an openness to the cosmos which grants me peace and acceptance of ALL of it; what IS, not some idealistic version or vision of everyone joining hands in a planetary OM. (I mean, this might be totally sweet, but it won’t happen, you and I both know.) We live with contrast (day/night), contradiction, diversity, adversity, light, shadow. Sometimes I tire of repeating all of this, because it seems so bloody obvious. But somehow we are going to strive to banish the darkness in human beings (who live on Planet Earth, where, were we to have the sun shining 24 hours a day, none of us would be here to debate it), live in the light, and so forth. I grant anyone whatever version of reality they need to embrace, for some truly would go mad if they painted outside their particular lines. But I accept what is and love life anyway! I may have judgments and preferences, of course; and as you say, most of them go on internally and I am simply mindful they exist and am careful to do no harm if at all possible. I may truly detest our Presidential incumbent, for example, and all he stands for. But I do recognize purpose in all things and accept this, too, must ultimately be steering us toward a future of our own making. Projecting what that future might hold is madness, so I attempt to remain present in the moment – and for now, it’s listening to yet another deluge of rain on the roof and delighting in written verbal banter with one of my favorite bloggers 😉 And yes, I can see that Pink keeps you well provoked and entertained! Love and blessings to you, however this finds you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. No wonder I feel a connection to the way you write. My thought processes are much the same and I, too, have to refrain in letting myself fall into a conversation I know is much to deep and complex for many of the people I know. They just look at me like…. really! Makes perfect sense to me but not to the majority of people. Love how you have put “this” into words and have shared it here. Have a Wonderful New Year! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Bela,

    At the outset, Happy New Year.

    As I write this Greetings, fresh out from reading your post, I cringe at the inconsequentiality of this phrase. Is it not that I am writing this because that is what is expected of me at this time of the year? Is it not that I am writing this because I do not want to be perceived as someone who is ignorant of etiquette by a friend like you? Or is it not that I write this because I am societally conditioned to do so?

    And the above I suppose are at the core of our use of the language.Be it the spoken or the written word. The better ‘word smith’ we are in terms of mastery over the language, we gain the ability to better sculpt what we wish to communicate. An ability which we believe allows us an advantage in our social interactions. But I also sense that this ability might prompt us to try and show up different to what we are or how we feel. In other words, an ability to show up in-authentically…….

    As I think of your post, I see the above as one more dimension to “Run on”.

    Cheers and wishing you a 2017 full of great blogging!

    Shakti Ghosal

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aloha Shakti, and fair greetings in this new year! I am so grateful to see your comments and offerings appear again on WordPress. Having people like you in my life deeply enriches my sense of purpose and also affirm that there is caring and attentiveness amidst the chaos ‘out there.’

      I, too, cringe at the inconsequentiality of ‘Happy New Year,’ especially given the ongoing conditions of the bulk of humanity. So much suffering and deprivation, it’s difficult to keep up a facade of sorts when someone wishes me ‘health, wealth and happiness’ as though it’s an entitlement. But if I tease these words apart, I am blessed with vitality; I find wealth in the grace of living where we wish in the bounty of the gardens I have created all around us in our beautiful home; and yet happiness is what sticks most in my craw. I much prefer Hariod’s term ‘contentedness,’ which eschews the images dancing in my head of slap-happy oblivion and embraces a grounded, mindful acceptance of life on its own terms.

      Perhaps we are both drawn to the written word because it allows us to be authentic, as you say; to craft and explore the core of what we intend or mean when we offer a greeting, discussion, critique, what have you. And though I know not everyone chooses to plumb the depths, my appreciation extends to those who push the boundaries of human awareness. I have a feeling that whatever we explore and extend can’t be stuffed back in the box and continues enriching the world for successive generations to gather a deeper sense of purpose and intention.

      Many blessings to you! And a hearty welcome back to the WordPress Cafe 😉

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s