The Art of Making Conversation

November 23, 2013

I like to drive-by converse like the wind knocking over a potted plant on the back porch. Like, “What was that?” “Who knows?” And then days later, looking out the window, seeing the overturned potted plant, wondering how it got knocked over. Maybe it was a raccoon. It wasn’t. It was me, the wind.

I jumped in on a few conversations in a crowded room today. This happened at the Crafty Supermarket, which has moved from Clifton to Over the Rhine (OTR). This is who I am in OTR: as I drove home from the craft fair, I was singing a song to myself about gentrification and then realized it was to the tune of Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” and then I had to Google to make sure I had the correct artist (I didn’t- I thought it was Debbie Gibson, silly me). Anyway, the move was a fairly good one, my opinions on gentrification aside. Larger space, great acoustics in the ballroom at Music Hall, because in Cincinnati, our craft fairs have a DJ. By the time I left, it was getting too crowded for my liking, but it was still a more convenient space than the Clifton Cultural Arts Center.

Anyway, I heard some ladies talking about some butterfly necklaces, and one of them said, “That is so Silence of the Lambs,” and I jumped in on that because it made me laugh. Also, she was totally right. I kinda wish I had bought that necklace, but I was already budget busted at that point, so I resisted. I mentioned to her that I had a friend who cosplayed as Buffalo Bill and she said that was the best thing ever, and she’s right, it totally was.

Then I saw some TARDIS stuff and got all nerd-faced over it because it’s Doctor Who Day (50th anniversary and all). I was a fairly well contained snowstorm until I saw the Dalek and TARDIS chocolates, which I promptly bought while telling the lady behind the booth that I was exploding inside at the sight of them. And I so very was nerdily erupting from excitement, a snowstorm all shook up, glittery dashes of snow falling to reveal an exploding TARDIS on a field of Starry Night. I wished the lady behind the counter, “Happy Doctor Who Day,” as I walked away, leaving footprints of ash on the floor, dust in my wake, like “The Fires of Pompeii,” the episode with the 12th Doctor way before he was cast in the role.

Later I found out a friend of mine saw the Dalek/TARDIS chocolates independently of the craft fair (at Findlay Market) and purchased one for me. I had forgotten we were meeting to write later on, and when I showed up, she said it must have been for the gift. But it wasn’t, I told her. I could have gotten that next week sometime. Today I just wanted one of her fantastic hugs. And also to put words on the page, but mostly for hugs. But that was later. That was a time slightly before just now. Before that, I was still breezing through the market, trying to sort out some friend gifts.

I was looking at some jewelry and various sundries crafted out of birch bark and noted that the shop’s name was Betula, which is the genus of the birch tree. These ladies were like, “This is neat, what is it made out of?” And so I told them it was birch tree bark and explained the name of the shop was the scientific name of the tree. And one of them said, “Oh, well we’re really bad at science.” And I cringed a little inside, but outwardly I puffed out my chest and said, “It’s okay. I have a botany degree.” Like I was some kind of science super hero.

After that, I retreated back into the crowd, and withdrew into my typical introversion. The winds died down, and there was a stillness, as I walked back to my car, and then drove along, singing to myself. The winds reserved for another day, for tornado and hurricane, for gale force interaction. So you can say, “Did she just say what I think she said?” while I blow away.

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