Art of conversation lost in modern world

Lynn Moncus: Local columnist

Can you imagine what our parents and grandparents would have said had we pulled out a stack of cards imprinted with a number of subjects to be used to begin conversations at the dinner table?

Of course, their language would have been less colorful than mine when I saw such cards for the first time and tried to imagine why people would need to refer to such things in order to begin a conversation.

I am looking at a little set I just received and am a bit amazed that such sets are printed and are bought by a number of people.

One card has the question, “What is the first thing you read in the newspaper?”

When we used to receive papers on a daily basis in our family, we often talked about what we had read, but it never occurred to us that we needed any kind of prompting in order to be able to converse at the table or anywhere else we might be gathered. Someone might mention what news item had attracted their attention, and then the rest of us would join in to discuss that subject, which usually led to others of similar interest.

If someone had asked, “Who is the most famous person you have ever talked to,” I can just imagine what some of the answers might have been at our table. We would have thought of some of the community characters in order to put the person who had the audacity to ask such a question in his place. I’m sure some of you reading this can fill in the names you would have included, and most of them would not have had much to do with famous people in world history.

I guess I can see that some people today might need to be prompted in order to be able to enter conversations because they spend more of their time on the Internet, on cell phones, or in playing electronic games. They spend little time in talking to each other face-to-face and may feel almost embarrassed to enter a conversation. They even talk on their phones while sitting at the table with others and also play games or text instead of participating in the visiting that is going on among friends and family.

As usual, this woman from Ima is glad to have grown up in another time and another place because our major entertainment often was conversing with each other.

I’ll admit I used to become just a bit bored when political or religious arguments would erupt at the dinner table and was actually glad when I was old enough to excuse myself from the table and head to the canyons. Adult conversation could be more than a little boring for an active child, but it did teach me much to try to avoid as I grew up and could enter into those visits.

I learned to be able to change the subject when too much heat would enter the arguments and learned to avoid entering them myself when I was also feeling a little heated because of disagreements.

Fortunately, most of our family dinners were accompanied by fairly pleasant conversations about what had happened during the day or whatever news had been heard. We didn’t limit our subjects to the happenings on the front porch, but often talked about world news and many items of interest that added to our knowledge.

Were we able to gather today, I don’t doubt we would find something of interest to talk about without having to look at a card.

Actually, when we friends gather over coffee, we don’t need any prompting to get our conversations under way. We just begin talking and exchanging ideas.

Visiting is a most pleasant way to spend time and certainly makes us feel close to our friends as we talk and listen. Let’s keep enjoying while others spend their time with the various gadgets in order to avoid being a member of a group. We don’t need any cue cards

Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun by calling 575-461-1952.