I Smile Because I Have No Idea What’s Going On

Posted on May 14, 2015

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While Life in the Boomer Lane would like to take credit for this catchy blog post title, she actually found it on Pinterest, where she finds most items that thrill and inspire her. She used to find thrills and inspiration from other activities, but those activities require a physical dexterity she no longer possesses. Pinterest has now become her go-to place for cheap thrills.

Back to the matter at hand. In recent years, LBL has noticed that she is becoming increasing unable/unwilling to follow conversations that require a knowledge of either technology, geography, or people she has met at social gatherings. This would include most conversations that people have, with the exception of complaining about physical maladies, reviewing restaurants and books and movies, and talking about shoes. In those categories, she continues to be a champ.

Her way of dealing with the other boring stuff is to smile a lot and shake her head affirmatively at regular intervals.  Some examples are:

“We are considering replacing our plasma TV with LED.” (LBL nods, as though she understands this issue, util she is asked what kind of TV she has. The only answer she knows is “Oh, I never noticed the brand.”)

“We are thinking about getting a place on the Gulf Coast” (LBL smiles broadly, exclaims, “Wow! Gorgeous!” but has only the vaguest idea that some US states are bordered by a “gulf.” She doesn’t know what a gulf is, other than that it’s a body of water. Her friend may or may not be talking about the Gulf of Mexico. She is pretty sure it isn’t The Tonkin Gulf or The Persian Gulf.)

“My next door neighbor–you remember her from our annual Christmas party, right?–well, her son Kumquat just married this girl who it turns out had this child from a previous relationship who had been living with his grandmother and the girl never said anything to anyone and now my neighbor has this ‘grandson’ she never even heard of and…” (LBL shakes her head as though she remembers the neighbor or the last Christmas party or even Christmas. To her credit, she knows what a grandson is.)

LBL is finding that this technique (enthusiastic head-nodding and smiling at strategic intervals) has been getting her in trouble lately. People assume, when they see her head wagging, that she is not only following the discussion, but that she might have some wisdom to impart. She has been asked her opinion lately of LeBron James, Windows 10 Mobile, and low vs high P/E ratio stocks.   The truth is that, while these fascinating-to-someone-other-than-LBL discussions have been going on, LBL has been otherwise occupied with thoughts that come down to “I’m hungry,” “I’m bored,” “I hate what this humidity does to my hair,” or some combination of two of the three.

The bottom line is that if you ever find yourself in a social situation with LBL, best to start by having her give you a list of approved topics. Otherwise, you will be in danger of having a discussion with a bobble head.

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