As I sat on the bed, one arm outstretched in the grasp of the parlour didi, I was having a common mental battle with myself. “Don’t be rude,” I chided myself, “try and talk to her. Ask her something. Make a funny comment. Aren’t people expected to talk to each other in the parlour? She isn’t starting conversation herself either… But will I really just stay silent apart from telling her when the wax gets too hot?”
As anyone who has met me knows, I can come across as pretty shy or silent at times. True, once I know someone well I never shut up, but with strangers beginning every conversation is a matter of much deliberation and convincing on the part of my brain. Ultimately, to my chagrin, it generally makes the decision to stay silent and the awkward lack of conversation continues. And so I often find myself wondering what it would be appropriate to say. What kind of thing can you talk to someone you barely know about? And so today I realised, even though my brain and mouth aren’t the best at coming up with conversation starters, my arms provide me with plenty.
The numerous scratches on my arms and the backs of my hands could arise questions in anyone’s mind, although the cause behind them is simple. The didi may have assumed otherwise, but they have all been caused by my mischievous cat Apollo. And well, as pretty much everyone knows, I am always overflowing with stories about her.
Move onto my left wrist. On it is a faded blue stamp, with blurred words surrounding a number 1. If I thought she might be interested, I could have told her all about the 10km run I did the previous morning; how it was the first, how I did so much better than I’d expected, and how my legs are now absolutely killing me – explaining why it took me so long to climb up onto the bed!
Every little mark on my body tells a story, from the large scar on my arm that I got when I fell off a bus, to the callus on my finger that I get when I write too much, and the reason one of my nails is so much shorter than the others (nothing exciting, it merely broke). My point is, while I might constantly be seeking outside sources to determine what statements I should make, or what the other person might want to talk about, sometimes I should perhaps just tell one of my numerous stories, which are so easy to call to mind, and hope they’re interested in what I have to say.
And as I dwell on all these thoughts, she approaches me with a damp towel and I know it’s time to get up and I have successfully lost myself in thought for long enough to avoid starting an awkward conversation that I’d never be able to carry forward.