Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Quiet Man

I am a quiet person.  It is my nature.  Introvert.  Those who know me have gotten used to it.  Those who do not know me and are placed with me in a social setting feel very uncomfortable.
They squirm.
This used to be unsettling to me so I would make attempts at small talk.  I soon found that my idea of small talk made people even more uncomfortable, so I quit trying.  
Fortunately my wife is a great conversationalist so she takes the wheel when we are together at functions and I can turn on cruise control. 
Funny thing is I enjoy gatherings.  I like the sound that crowds can make, the murmur of voices, the loud guffaws, clinking of plates and glasses.  My silence allows me to observe the nuances around me, those barely visible motions or nods that are exchanged between people that give me the inside track.  Small talk does not allow that.
My wife and I went to a bat mitzvah party a few months ago and had a great time.  It was a nice family event.
The next day my wife was speaking with her mother on the phone.  I could tell by her loud laughter during the conversation that something was up.  She later told me that her mother had spoken with a cousin who had been seated at the table with us during the bat mitzvah reception. Apparently, the cousin thought I was a homophone.
This put me on the spot.  Now I was trying to remember the difference between a homophone and a homonym. 

Then I realized my wife said homophobe.


Here is a pretty accurate transcript of what I said to this individual on that night:
"Hello.  How are you?  It is good to see you."
When you are a quiet person, people sometimes mold you into what their subconscious minds want you to be.  
Oh, well.  It beats small talk.


  1. I enjoy reading your posts. I like your style of writing. It is interesting, unpretentious, and informative. I like your dry sense of humor.

    I think I missed something on your last posting though. Why did your cousin think you're a homophobe? You know what a homophobe is don't you? A person who has a fear of homosexuals. That is not my impression of you.

  2. I guess it's easy for people to assume you're different in a negative way when you're quiet. People always think I'm condescending, eccentric, or shy.

    Get what you mean about just taking in the crowd. Sitting back with a good drink and people watching the night away is probably one of my favorite party pass times.

    Small talk should be declared a faux pas once and for all, with the punishment being the offender must dissect said "conversation" to try and find any actual significance in the topics discussed- a difficult task at best.

  3. Ron,

    The cousin was probably Gay. When this man sat there all evening quietly, the cousin probably interpreted this as the man didn’t like Gays. At least, that is the way I take it.
    This is how I was much of my life. I would be at functions with other people and seldom say much, just sit and listen. People would always be asking my wife what was wrong with me, did I dislike them or something. I’ve gotten better with age, but I still have to know people awhile before I open up much.
    Being quite has advantages. You do tend to listen and observe, and when you don’t say much, people at meetings thing you are smarter than you are. Then when you do occasionally say something, you get their full attention.

    I really enjoyed your post because I’ve lived it.


  4. Ron,
    I am not a homophobe. I am, however, afraid of heights. That is why I live in Delaware.
    My wife and I are planning to make eggplant parm from your recipe. It better be as good as you say.

  5. Wayne,

    Glad to hear that you're not a homophobe. I didn't think you were. If you were I was going to turn in my gaydar because it's broken. :)

    You and my friend Larry have a lot in common. In addition to being quiet at parties he is also afraid of heights. Although, I don't think that is the reason he moved to the great, flat state of Delaware with the Big Sky. Larry also has that wonderful dry sense of humor that you also possess.

    Hey, that eggplant parm recipe is good! I love it. I hope you and your wife do too. :)


  6. By the way, my name is not Wayne. That is a quote from the character portrayed by Mike Myers in the movie "Wayne's World".

  7. Oops, my bad. Uh, we are in - Delaware!