Talk to Me Dammit!


Although in a previous post I’ve stated my aspiration to inspire and be someone’s muse, I must admit the obvious. The Porcupine is my muse.  Now that he is adapting his persona to become a lovable Porcupine, I am loving watching that unfold.  Another obvious fact is that the Porcupine is a non-talker. Since I always want to talk to him, I wonder whether all this talking bothers him. I also admit to wondering whether, like many guys, he becomes a talker after sex.

What drives this involuntary urge for me to talk to him although he doesn’t relish talking back? Interestingly with Omar I seem to have found a person who “speaks to me” silently. He, ever the teacher, shows me how to respect the silences between words and embrace the ambiguity of what’s not “spelled out”; in sum, savor what is left unsaid. He feels like a magnet pulling me towards something I need. Do I, the over talker, need to learn to talk less? My personal challenge presently at work is to see if I can respect the silences between people as non-threatening and merely the reality of this new work environment. It is not something I do easily.

In truth, conversations with people can be so like V-Day – full of potential but usually “meh”.  How often do we suffer listening to what others have to say out of politeness? Decidedly the porcupine pays less attention to matters of politeness than most of us do. He doesn’t make time for people who don’t interest him. For instance, I noticed that he never says goodbye to me at the conclusion of our brief conversations. It’s as if he sees no need to validate the exchange of our words.  This painfully reminds me of my ex who, after a dinner table family talk, would look up from his plate and contribute a dis-engaged “Just send me an email about it”. Maybe what hurt most in married life were not the biggies (for instance — infidelity) but the small things – like ignoring what I had to say.

Yet just maybe it is time for me to deal straight up with my desire to over-talk; accept that I might not have something interesting to say to everyone. Maybe it’ll be enough to find one person who longs to hear the sound of my voice. In the end, I find it extraordinary that despite my deep rooted love of words in at least three languages, the bifurcated conversations with the porcupine always charm me. He teaches me to live frugally with words – on surprise, wishing for nothing larger than my own small heart.

Expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.
Become a stranger
To need of pity
Or, if compassion be freely
Given out
Take only enough
Stop short of urge to plead
Then purge away the need.

Wish for nothing larger
Than your own small heart
Or greater than a star;
Tame wild disappointment
With caress unmoved and cold
Make of it a parka
For your soul.

Discover the reason why
So tiny human midget
Exists at all
So scared unwise
But expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.

Alice Walker


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