Friday, January 30, 2009

Me - A Talker

Recently, Haki was reviewing this page and read aloud my corny little caption underneath my picture. Upon reaching its conclusion, he then hovered the cursor like so...

...and looked to me.

"This one should be first" he said, plain-faced. Blink blink.

What my witty comeback, ("Hey!"), didn't say, was that I was a little troubled by my husband's observation.

Granted, I developed a reputation for being chatty at a very young age. My parents routinely remind me that my 3.5 year-old yabberwocky niece reminds them of me due to her yabbering.

I would like to think I've come some way since those days; that I know to take my turn listening, and that I pick up on cues that my story might be tiresome; no - I craft my tales to ensure I am not tiresome.

I know, upon reflection, this was not always the case.

I was seven when we made our migratory flight from the U.S. to Auckland, NZ. Our family of seven was sadly broken up amongst rows due to our inconvenient number, leaving all members paired or accompanied, bar one. I'm not sure if I volunteered to sit next to the man with the clanky laptop, or whether that was the way things turned out, and I didn't mind a bit of stranger time. Regardless, next to Clanky Laptop Man is where I sat.

I recall how I commenced informing my new neighbour of everything I knew about our destination - that Echo the dolphin lives there, that people sing well there, and...and...and... Clanky Laptop Man did his best to communicate through his body language (furiously typing and reading his screen, with an occasional nod in my direction), that he was not a bad man, but he was a busy man.

I also remember my father leaning up to squeeze the removable head-rest protector as he half-stood to say to Clanky Laptop Man, "Just let us know if her talking starts to bother you". I furrowed my brow at the time, thinking, "How could he be bothered?" CLM waved a busy hand to indicate it was fine - he could multi-task - and carried on being businessy. Silly father - see? Clanky Laptop Man likes me and my stories.

I continued.

Perhaps I failed to decode many of CLM's early messages, but I did not miss the pivotal moment when he clicked the laptop lid closed, and swivelled slightly to almost face me (as much as the seats allowed).

While I know now his thoughts most likely read, "This is the last time I fly economy", I interpreted this as a victory. CLM had embraced my oratory and could no longer be distracted by the petty trivialities of whatever his black-and-green-screened box offered in competition. I had won.

I am not sure to what topic I then moved, but I am sure I did not stop talking, for any waking moment, until we landed...some 13 hours later. Perhaps CLM or I got a nap in. This was tolerable. Should we both be awake however, there was much to tell.

As we taxied to the terminal in Auckland, I craned to see out the window (I was not next to it). I wondered if we would see Echo one day, and what the singing would be like at church on Sunday.

All the big people stood to claim their possibly-shifted luggage in their overhead stows. I remember my parents shooting CLM winces of sympathy as they did so, and my internal reaction - "Do these people have no faith in me?"

CLM, partly to my surprise, leapt to my defence, with something to the effect of, "You know, she wasn't bad at all," (looking briefly to me then), "I actually enjoyed it".

I then shot a glance of validation towards my carers.

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