Why do so many of my ramblings begin with 'is it just me....' ? Perhaps because I do more than my fair share of finding faults with the world, or more precisely with myself in the world.
Anyway... (is it just me or...) do other people find that they can't muster up anything intelligible and can only talk gibberish when put on the spot? I don't mean in some important situation where it's okay to have nerves that might make us stumble over our words - no, with me it's just in everyday situations where I should be able to string a sentence together without resorting to babble.
It happens often when I'm walking the dog. People are friendly to me when I walk the dog, or more to the point they are friendly to me because I am with the dog. Conversely, when I'm by myself I seem to be invisible. However, our dog, Ozzie, seems to bring out the best in passers-by and that's when they might proffer a cheery greeting in my direction. Nothing wrong with that is there? In fact it's rather nice and sociable. But that's where my problems begin, because, in an effort to think up something to say in response, you know perhaps just a simple 'hello' or 'nice day, isn't it', my mind goes into panic mode and I start rambling on incoherently or responding with something entirely inappropriate.
Take the other morning when a neighbour (whose driveway Ozzie was in the process of using as a toilet) waved and said 'lovely weather isn't it?' In my panic I replied enthusiastically 'and you too!' which made no sense whatsoever, unless I was offering an opinion that she, like the weather, was also lovely; which I wasn't, although she is - lovely. See what I mean? Gibberish.
At my most normal I might just manage a 'yeah, nice' or some such mundane response but in my best prattle mode, which I find myself in more and more often these days, I have been known to utter total nonsense at some length, such as a few days ago when in reply to a simple 'hello, how are you?' from a fellow dog walker, I managed to come out with (and I quote), 'eher, me know, lovely me, yes'. Then I tried to correct myself which just lead to more of the same, in this case it was, as I remember only too well, 'feheh, sorry, sorry, yes we are'. Professor Stanley Unwin, for those of you old enough to remember him, has nothing on me when it comes to talking nonsense.
And oh, that look of puzzlement mixed with pity on the faces of people who are at the receiving end of my rubbish, that face I know very well and it stays with me as I hold my head in embarrassment and walk on, Ozzie in tow, reliving the whole sorry conversation in my head.
So maybe it is just me.
Perhaps I need to pause, take a moment and think of an appropriate response in future instead of launching into my normal drivel.
Or take a lesson from Ozzie and just do my business in a neighbour's driveway then nonchalantly carry on. That way I get the look of puzzlement and social interaction without having to make conversation....
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