Conversation Stoppers 101

Two things:
1. I should probably keep my mouth shut more often.
2. But if I don’t, I need to make sure I have my little notebook with me so I can write stuff down. Like I did on Sunday.


So I notice this license plate on the ferry: HA INC. It’s from one of those northern states where strangers don’t just walk up to you and start talking unless they want to steal your wallet.

But we’re in the south now, y’all, and we’re on the ferry-cross-the-water, so drivers can’t just pull away from me when I walk up to their cars unless they want some seriously negative consequences.

It’s an older couple (note to self: they’re probably my age, but I like to think I’ve gotten younger since changing my latitude/attitude) who most likely want to shut their power windows right now, but you can’t run your car engine while the ferry’s moving and so they can’t.

I smile as I lean into them and say, “I love your license plate. I don’t know if it stands for something like Hudson Associates, Inc. or if you just run a laughter business, but I like it.”

They do not crack the hint of a smile, so I’m guessing it’s the former. Not even the hint of a smile.

I’ll bet they cut their vacation short and have headed home so they could apply for a new license plate.

HA indeed.

Sitting in the car and talking on the ferry ride:

B: I love E, but I can’t imagine having her job. [E is a hospice chaplain.]

Me: If I were in hospice, I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have than E come visit me as a chaplain. She’s wonderful, so compassionate.

B: Yeah, but she deals every day with people who are dying. That would be depressing.

Me: Well, technically, we’re all dealing every day with people who are dying.

*Conversation ceases.*

*Nervous laughter.*

C: Wow, how Zen-like was that.

11 comments to Conversation Stoppers 101

  • What grumps!

    I love your show-stopping line. Thanks for reminding us we’re all dying. LOL! (I did mention I like dark humor, right?)

  • No cookies for the cranky people. That’s what I tell my dogs when they’re not playing nice, “NO COOKIES!”

    As for your conversation stopper, I don’t get it. I tell people we are all dying all the time. There is irrefutable evidence in my favor that I am speaking the truth. Is it that some truths should not be spoken? Who knows.

    I doubt seriously that I will ever hold my tongue when people go on, and on, about how so-and-so wouldn’t have died IF. I have a tendency to qualify that conversation with the word NOW. So-and-so wouldn’t have died NOW if, but would have died nonetheless.

    Of course, I don’t have a large circle of friends. My straight forward honesty results in few who can tolerate me on a day-to-day basis.

    • Natasha

      Oh, DS, come with us on our next ferry ride! Really. You’ll love it. We can always push you in the water if you get too honest. 🙂

      I too have the tendency to remind people ‘It’s not IF you/they/I die, it’s WHEN.’

      Doesn’t necessarily make me the life of the party…

      • What’s the water temp? I’m sure to be tossed in for a swim at some point, I just need to know whether to bring a wetsuit or not. 😉

        So, as Linda pointed out, on to brighter things. Do you have any good recipes for dog cookies? LOL

        • Natasha

          I used to have a really good recipe that came with the bone-shaped cookie cutter. I liked the cookies as much as the dog did. But I’ve lost it — I should try making some biscuits for Ms. Polly. Thanks for getting me onto a new tangent.

  • I’m going to do my Scarlet act right now, and choose to ignore this silly downer conversation!!! 😀

  • First, in defense of us northerers, I completely would have laughed at your comment! Many of us are friendly and talk to people we don’t know all the time…so don’t think poorly of all of us! Those people were just crabby.

    BTW, your comment about always working with people who are dying, sounds EXACTLY like something I would say! It’s true, so why not say it?!

    • Natasha

      I know, I know, I was a northerner for a long time and I would talk to people — but not nearly as much as I do now. And I’m SURE you would talk to me on the ferry.

      The HA people were just crabby, no HA HA.

  • Yes, the HA people were cranks. It’s their lose! 🙂 Maybe they were afraid of sinking and couldn’t think of anything witty to say.
    Maybe instead of cranky, they were just stupid and didn’t know what was on their plates–or maybe the car was stolen. Either way, it’ll make a good writing prompt.

    Sometimes life is much more interesting and funny than fiction…hum
    Remember that Seinfeld episode with the A$$MAN license plate? heh heh heh

    • Natasha

      I like thinking that they’d stolen the car. And were panicked about it sinking before they’d had a chance to enjoy it. That works for me.

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