I flatter myself that I am a good listener and observer of human nature and behavior. By and large I listen attentively to whoever is addressing me and rarely if ever interrupt.
This does not however mean that I am incapable of holding my own in a conversation. Far from it. I can wax as eloquent as the next man and sometimes, perhaps more!
Today’s experience was trying to say the least.
My regular readers will no doubt recollect the Senior Citizen finding it difficult to live with his daughters in law. He has not been seen in the park for some time now, due to the heavy rains that we have been having recently. Today was a bright, sunny and clear evening and he put in an appearance and made a bee line to me, as soon as I finished my walk and sat down at my favorite bench.
After the initial greetings, I made a beginning by a polite enquiry about his health. I think that he has not had an opportunity to talk to anyone else about it and for the next 15 minutes, I heard all about his medical problems. I could not get a word in! I am not exaggerating. I just could not get a word in while he held forth for all of 15 minutes. At the end of it all, he finally asked me, my opinion on whether he should undergo surgery for a problem, fully expecting me to give an opinion on which he could pounce on and talk more. I simply told him that since I am not a doctor, I could not comment and that he should go by his doctor’s advise. He was most disapointed and asked me if I could recommend my doctor to him. I gave him directions to contact my doctor and gently broke off by saying that I had to go home as I was expecting guests.
This is the first time that I was trapped into a one way conversation like this and have made up my mind not ever to ask him about his health again if I see him around.
Some friends sitting close by, later on sympathized with me and expressed their admiration for my patience. I was not being patient. I was feeling cornered! I keep advising people to be assertive and not become doormats, but today I just did not have the heart to interrupt the old fellow and end the rant.
What would you have done?