You know that moment in a conversation with a new acquaintance when you run out of things to talk about? You’ve already discussed the weather, any recent movies you’ve seen, the event that you are mutually attending. There is that silence, when you two are looking at one another with mild alarm in your eyes. If you can count one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, it has gone on too long. (I am somewhat of a social misfit so it has taken me almost four decades to realize that is in fact too long.) Many years of awkward conversations have taught me that a few standard questions go a long way toward getting the words flowing. Since I committed to posting here daily I have started to check out writing/blogging prompts from various internet sources. Just to shake things up, I’ve decided to use some of the blog prompts in place of my stock conversation starters. Here’s how that might work:

Instead of  “Do you have any children?”, I am going to use “If you only had an hour to live, what would you do with those 60 minutes?”

Instead of “What do you do?’, I am going to try “Tell me something you’ve never told anyone else.”

Instead of “What are your plans for (insert upcoming holiday here)?” , I am going to ask “What do you want people to remember you for?”  Thinking about their own mortality really makes people chatty.

One of the prompts that I’ve recently read was: What would you change about yourself. Well, okay, if you really want to know… I would have eyes on stalks. Before you navigate away from my page, just imagine how useful, and really cool, that would be. It would open up a whole new world of funky hats, a la the kind made for bunnies with two holes on top for their ears. You could see over tall objects and around corners in a stealthy manner, so it would be perfect for moms and other supervisors. Plus, you could look into a lake or stream without getting your hair wet. There are just too many benefits to list here. I’m sure you can come up with some of your own.

Last night at dinner my daughter asked me what kind of super-power I would like to have. Well, that requires consideration, so of course I took a moment. My son, though, needed no time at all to give his answer. He rattled off eight super-powers immediately, starting with “the ability to open up a hole in my body to let arrows or knives go through”, this description came complete with graphic sound effects and hand gestures. I have to admit, I had a smug little “my kids are so cool” moment.

My super-power? Glad you asked. Stretchiness, like Mrs. Incredible. It’s the perfect mom power. Falling milk glasses: saved. Tripping toddlers: caught. That Cheerio that your baby just found on the floor of the dressing room: you can snatch it away before it gets to her mouth.

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