The Solo Conversationalist

The Solo Conversationalist

Basil and Rose have just met and are having coffee together, presumably to get to know one another. Perhaps they are coworkers who have recently been put on the same team. Maybe this is a social outing.

I am listening. Basil is speaking. And speaking. He is speaking about Basil. He tells about his work; he tells about some awards he has won; he tells about his proficiency in several hobbies; he tells where he lives and where he used to live. After a moment he winds down.

There is a moment of silence, and then Rose speaks. She says where she lives and she asks Basil how he likes living where he does now, and does he find it convenient to work?

Basil does not comment on Rose’s living location, but he speaks for several minutes about his, and then adds some information about biking to work and biking in general, and that seems to remind him of other things he likes to do, so he talks about some of those, and ends with a bit about running and his dog.

Another moment of silence. Rose steps in and begins speaking, picking up on the introduction of the dog and says that she, too, has a dog with whom she likes to run, and she says a few sentences about places to do so. She also mentions that running after a busy day is relaxing.

Silence from Basil.

Rose asks Basil what kind of dog he has. Basil is off and running again. From his dog he goes to the traveling he does and the traveling he has planned and the article he is writing. He doesn’t have anything to say about Rose’s dog, nor does he pick up on the possible topic of Rose’s busy days.

The conversation continues for a while longer. I notice that the word “you” does not leave Basil’s mouth. I hear Rose offering encouraging “uh-huhs” and “interestings!” for a while but then that stops. I see that Basil is leaning back in his chair, continuing with his near-monologue. Rose is beginning to look around. Pretty soon I see cup gathering and they stand up and shake hands and Basil says, “It was nice talking to you.” I don’t hear what Rose says but she is quickly out of there.

Nice work, Basil. “Talking to you” is a wonderfully accurate description of what just happened. Basil should add to his list of accomplishments the ability to carry on a conversation alone.

From what I hear, this ability to converse alone is a common one. Solo conversations- so much less work than actually involving the other person.