Friday, November 15, 2013

Be Interesting Month!

I've been thinking a lot about the recent This American Life episode that provides rules on what not to talk about.  I've always assumed it was people who are boring, not topics, but this approach seems much kinder, so I'm in.  The off limits items are below.  I'd like to confess right here that I have done most of these but I'm making a pact right here on the internets to try harder to be interesting.

  1. Route talk  (I agree, this is THE WORST.)
  2. Period talk (menstruation)
  3. How you slept
  4. Diet
  5. Health
  6. Dreams
  7. Money
For just two people, I'm proud of the healthy dent we made in this
cake at one sitting!
I have a few to add:
  • the detailed plots to movies or books.
  • the back story about who's related to who in a minor anecdote.  ("It was my hairdresser's best friend's cousin.  Wait, no, it I guess it was her second cousin.  Well, now that I think about it, it may actually be a neighbor of the cousin.")  This is as bad as route talk.
  • struggling, in the midst of what could be an okay anecdote, to remember what day of the week it was.  "I think it was a Tuesday.  Wait, no, it could have been a Wednesday.  Honey, do you remember?  I think it was the day after your appointment with the accountant?"
  • stories about your adorable but naughty pets, or even worse, your pets ailments.  Unless they die.  If the pet dies, it's okay to bring it up (once).
I was going to include minutiae in general, but my little m was here yesterday, cause for that cake, and she talked about her new friend, a retirement age woman.  This friend had one boyfriend in college, but decided "it didn't suit her" and has been happily single for the past 40 years.  She tells M. all kinds of tiny details that primarily involve nurturing plants.  Things like changing the temperature of her house two degrees, or shifting a plant from one location to another to improve photosynthesis.  M. says it's not boring in the least, and we decided that's because the minutiae is contained in a vessel of quirky tenderness that involves treating the plants like a cross between a children and a miracle.  So, let's not rule it out just yet.

Before we veto these topics, though, I want to say something about my health.  (I know.)  I have a weird form of tinnitus that involves hearing my own heartbeat in my left ear.  I looked it up on the internet and learned that most people who have it find it extremely annoying, which surprises me.  I find it so comforting, like being in the womb.  Woo hoo!  I'm still alive!  Listen to that strong heartbeat!  In my ear!  (I had to get that out before this becomes a violation of Interestingness Month.)

But back to the topic at hand.  Let me know if you encounter any rule violators, or if you have any rules to add.  Let's make a whole month out of it.

21 comments:

  1. Dear god. I must be the most boring person in the universe. So is my husband. Every morning and I mean EVERY MORNING we ask each other how we slept. Then, if we are feeling really creative, we may speak of our dreams. And then we go on to how we FEEL. And sometimes money if we simply have to. I don't have periods anymore so that one is out of the picture. And we talk about diet too, Frequently.
    I used to know a child who would spend endless hours telling me the plots of movies and stories. She grew up to be a Grammy-award winning documentary maker.
    She obviously simply HAD to tell me those plots in detail.
    I can hear my heartbeat in my left ear when I lay on it at night. It drives me insane. I maybe didn't enjoy my time in the womb. Someone should do a study.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I think the rules only apply to dinner parties and stuff. If you're with your person, sure, anything goes! Really, you have left ear heartbeat syndrome too? What are the odds? Should we worry? Let me know if you die of it or something!
      xoxo

      Delete
  2. Did they really not list religion and politics?!

    I would like to add to the "forbidden" list the correction of anyone's use of as grammar, pronunciation, tense or recollection of an event. The ones that you mentioned, about details such as relationship to speaker, or day of the week, or anything that does not affect the story - those make me want to fall on a sword and bleed out in front of the offender.

    That cake looks awesome. If it's a birthday cake, Happy Birthday to the lucky person.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That made me laugh, the falling on the sword and bleeding to death. The cake is excellent, 3 layers, all chocolate with some raspberries involved as well. I agree on the correction thing. Correcting irrelevant details. Grrr.

      Delete
  3. I don't want to hear about anyone's dental issues, unless it's to tell me why they had to leave work early or why they're drooling. But keep it short and to the point.

    My ex-H always ruined perfectly good stories dithering over the details like whether the guy at the Jiffy Lube was Mark, or mabe it was Mike, but no he's pretty sure it was Mark, unless that's the other guy he was thinking of who worked behind the sandwich counter at Safeway, or that was probsbly actually Steve, so yeah the guy he's talking about must've been Mark. It's a wonder I still have teeth, with all the grinding of them I had to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we can capture dental under health. But yes, maybe we have a "struggling over an unimportant detail" category.
      I'm glad you have teeth still. Keep it up.

      Delete
  4. Here's one: "Why aren't you coloring your hair anymore?" ... During a pause in the book club, where everyone turns my way and does that mental assessment thing. Well, after stating that I wanted to it let it go gray, and meeting their dubious looks with defiance, I now have long silver blonde hair that shines in the sun, and I really like it. OK, that was good to let out. Thank you!
    And... I also hear my heartbeat in my ear when it's against the pillow, and I find it very distracting.
    That cake looks yummy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really? People ask that? I think the answer I'm going to start using, when anyone asks weird questions about my appearance (like, "Why haven't you combed your hair this century? I'm just curious, that's not a judgement."): "Because everything is WAY better this way."

      Ok, I guess everyone hears that heartbeat thing? You, Ms. Moon, me? Is it a real problem? Are you a real doctor? Should we all go get it checked out?

      Delete
    2. I'm not a real doctor, but I play one on Google.
      And,YES! What a reason to have a get-together – all of us going to the doctor together.

      Delete
  5. Oh, my god. This post and all the comments are the best. I think I'd add what my mother does when we talk. She says something like this: Hi, Elizabeth! Do you remember the Bakers who lived in that house at the end of the road, the one on the hill right past the Smiths? You know, they had the little boy that got run over and was in a coma and then recovered? The father fell off the ladder and lay there in the dirt for hours until someone saw him? You don't remember that? Well, she just found out that she has cancer. Yes. Isn't that terrible?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm actually laughing out loud. That is hilarious. I have that mom too.

      Delete
  6. Oh, and as for "route talk" -- well, have you ever seen an episode of "The Californians" on Saturday Night Live? If you haven't google it. As a Californian, I can attest to its startling accuracy. We spend an inordinate amount of time talking about our routes, and it's never EVER boring. Tawk amongst yourselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. okay, I'm laughging again. The route talk and the accents together....

      Delete
  7. Oh Betsy, I adore you and your posts and your readers.
    I confess to being a bit boring lately, and also to periodically hearing my heartbeat, which I don't find all that comforting, and to being raised by a mom who tells stories about people that all begin with long, pleading requests to remember people I've likely never known to hear something awful that happened to them. She also compulsively interrupts to correct grammar and pronunciation. I'm going to use the fall on the sword threat next time, I already threatened to misspell her name on her tombstone if she didn't stop correcting us all the time. We get it, she knows everything and we are all inferior users of the english language. Sometimes though, she can be wrong, and sister and I often take to the dictionary in defense. Followup conversations to prove pronunciation and/or usage were not in fact incorrect must be the boring cherry on top.

    I think the real key here is to hang out, virtually or that rare in real life case, with people who don't find our quirky interests boring, like the balloon lady or the map lady, etc. Most of my real life people get that glazed look in their eye when I have learned something fascinating I want to share. But looky here, not a glazed eye to be seen in blogger. I love that. And I love coming here. You constantly amaze AND interest me.
    xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, how sweet you are, Mel! I think (do I get to do recommendations? Yes, I do! :-) that you should write more about your quirky interest on your blog! And just like atoms, your people will flock to it.

      Is there an age when we'll become those mothers, the ones who tell the horror stories about people who our kids hardly remember? What's the age? Because that might be "bleed out on a sword" time for sure. Remind me....
      XOXO!

      Delete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, why thank you. There are, I heard once, 20,000 new blogs every day. Can that possibly be true? Yikes.

      Delete
  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yep, I have heartbeat in the left ear syndrome, due to a hole in the left ear drum. AND, I did four posts in a row complaining about the roads that made up our route through California. So, there you go.

    ReplyDelete