John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Talking in cars while waiting in traffic

jyb_musingsCar talk is different than other conversations. Both the driver and passenger are looking forward and not at each other. Mostly anyway.

It’s not as intimate and more informational.

And both passenger and driver are captives in any conversation.

Earlier today I was stuck in traffic across from a couple about my age. The man was driving and had a grayin…g beard and glasses that somehow seemed fogged.

The woman also wore glasses but had holders on hers so they wouldn’t fly off. She waved her hands animatedly when talking and seemed either to be describing something important to her or venting about something that frustrated her.

The man was basically motionless and emotionless. He preteded to be watching the traffic and concentrating on driving but we were stuck at a standstill in traffic and there was nothing for him to do except listen. But he seemed mostly to be pretending to listen. He wanted her to think he was listening but also wanted her to suspect he may not be listening.

It was his way of communucating that although he cared about what she was saying, he didn’t care that much– and thought she was probably over reacting. She seemed to be getting more dramatic and demonstrative the more he seemed only to be pretending to listen. It was her way of saying, “What I am saying is actually a lot more important than you think it is and you would understand that if you would listen closer to what I am saying.”

As they both kept starring ahead out the windshield.

Then the traffic cleared. And we drove on.

But I suspect their  conversation continued.


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