I was a painfully shy child. I was okay with people I knew, but I didn't know how to talk to anyone else. Dad noticed and took me to a Lake Erie breakwall.
"Ask that man what he's using for bait", he said as he nudged me towards an old man. I'm sure my face showed panic, so Dad asked the old man himself. They had a chatty, friendly little conversation before Dad took me to the next old guy. "Go on", he said. I nervously asked the man what he was using for bait. The guy stuck his hand in his coffee can and showed squiggly things that he said were good for perch. Next guy used minnows. Next guy used a lure. I learned what every old man on the lake used for bait. I learned a lot about fish and fishing. I wanted to talk to old guys every weekend after that. I still like old guys.
Learning how to talk with other people is feeling like a lost art. Everyone is glued to their phones and checking out how many likes they've gotten. They watch TV shows where even the camera people seem afraid to make eye contact with someone they're filming, shooting them from the side or back while that person talks to an invisible subject off screen.
We need eye contact. We need real conversations. We need real human interaction. We need to communicate that in our work, no matter what kind of work we do. I think this is obvious for artists, but think about engineers designing products that regular people can't understand even with the engineers' incomprehensible manuals. The better we understand others, the better we'll be at everything. We learn to understand others by actually talking with them.
I've learned about Swedish death cleaning from a friend of mine. That's right up there with Marie Kondo's get rid of everything that doesn't bring you joy. I know I've mentioned I think this is all crazy, but to each their own. If pitching your belongings makes you happy, then I'm happy for you. I'm even happier when I get gifted stuff you don't want. That's how I ended up with a big bag of wooden balls.
To show my appreciation for craft gifts, I painted one of the balls for my friend. I made it a blue eyeball since she and her kids are blue-eyed. She loves it. She even loves the bloody underside of it (which I somehow neglected to photograph). Glad to share some giggles over craft balls. She thanked me and gave me a big bag of corks. I'm still not sure what to do with those. Any ideas?
I didn't get a new word last Friday so I decided to wait and see how long it would take for a new word to show up. Still waiting 2 Saturdays later. I hate that. Do what you say you're going to do, or at the very least, tell us why you aren't doing it. Communicate! Didn't your father teach you how to talk to fishermen?!!
(If I need to comply with the ancient IF word at all, this is where I say you can practice talking with your imaginary friend. Or maybe, talk to the hand?)