boon-dog-gle: (noun) work of little or no value done merely to keep or look busy.
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9/14/05

Surprise random link of the week...

Here's this week's link: Have fun!

So, it's been a while since I've posted. We've had a hectic couple of weeks. Suzanne's mom is going to be o.k., though she has a long road of rehab and recovery from her accident ahead of her.

So, a couple of years ago, we were at a dinner-party type of situation with a small group of people who were more than acquaintances but not quite good friends. At some point in the evening, I noticed that the host had a peculiar way of talking in which almost every time he began to say something--whether to tell a story or anecdote, or to ask a question--he would begin by saying, "So...". For instance, he might have said, "So, the other day at work I had such and such an experience..." I don't know if I can really convey this manner of speaking in writing, but I'm doing my best. Anyway, I asked him (with whom I was least familiar of anyone present) where he was from and whether this was a colloquial way of conversing. Well, when I asked that, the conversation in the room stopped dead. He sort of nervously answered, "No, I don't know, I guess I've just always done that." Then, someone else said, "I've heard other people do that before." Then, they quickly changed the subject.

I think people thought I was making fun of the way he was speaking. But I wasn't, I was genuinely interested. I'm always interested in peoples' idiosyncrasies. It didn't occur to me that questioning someone about starting their conversation with "So..." might be a touchy subject. Now, when I make a social faux pas that causes me or other people embarrassment, the awkward feeling sticks with me forever and reoccurrs every time I think of it. For instance, when I was in the fifth grade my teacher caught me in a lie about being done with my spelling assignment so I could play the game "Oregon Trail" on the computer. I still cringe at the memory. And, when I was in college, I inappropriately bragged about my tennis skills. I get sick to my stomach when I think about that one.

So, that conversation about conversational patterns has stuck with me. But, more importantly, my ironic punishment for embarrassing everyone at that dinner party is that I've taken up that particular habit. Ever since then, I've noticed that I now often begin speaking, especially when I'm going to tell a story, by using the trigger word, "So...". And lately, it's been increasing in frequency. Weird, huh?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I frequently use "So..." as you describe.

nickg said...

So, anonymous--Where are you from? This will help test whether it is indeed a coloquial habit with a geographical connection.

G.K. Chesterton...

"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people."