Each of us has a special talent and mine is in stating the obvious. I’ve spent a lifetime doing it.
But sadly not everyone values my gift. On a cruise, for example, someone like me can be seen as a bad thing. My ability to talk endlessly without conveying anything of substance – indeed anything my listeners couldn’t have worked out for themselves – is often unwelcome.
That’s a pity because some of my best work is done at sea. But I realise not all passengers relish my type of chatter. Some have been known to give me a wide berth and to a certain extent I can see why.
After all, when you’re on holiday, do you really want to spend time with the likes of me? Someone who makes observations such as:
“This must be Egypt. You don’t find pyramids like that in Surrey.”
Or: “Look at that island. It’s entirely surrounded by water.”
Not forgetting: “The only thing stopping this ship from carrying more passengers is its size.”
It’s nothing to be proud of, but I have statements like these for practically every situation and location. I seem to be able to crank them out at the drop of a hat.
In Japan: “It doesn’t get more Japanese than this.”
In Australia: “This place is a lot bigger than New Zealand.”
In New Zealand: “This place is a lot smaller than Australia.”
There’s only so much of this kind of talk people can take. In fact I’m probably the sort of person they went on holiday to escape from.
Although, to be fair, not everyone reacts negatively to my conversational gambits.
Senior citizens, I find, can really engage with self evident utterances. Throw one their way and they’ll lob half a dozen back. Over the years I’ve had some great exchanges with the older generation, including not a few on cruises.
There’s something very satisfying about conversing with an elderly person who has mastered the art of saying nothing that anyone could disagree with.
“It’s been getting hotter lately.”
“Certainly not getting any colder.”
“Especially now we’re approaching the equator.”
“I reckon it could turn equatorial.”
“That’s not a word you hear too often in Barton-Upon-Humber.”
“I’m 70 next year you know.”
“So you must be 69 now.”
“That’s right, but only until my next birthday in 2012. I’m already looking on the internet for 2012 cruises. Guess what I typed in?”
“I wish I’d thought of that. No, I typed in ‘cruises 2012’.”
To be honest I have mixed feelings about my spoken communication skills.
I can understand how maddening some of you might find me, not least when you’re trying to relax on the holiday of a lifetime.
On the other hand, I think there’s definitely a role on a cruise for an inveterate stater of the obvious.
One of the delights of cruising is that it’s already rich in stimulation. If you were accompanied by someone like Stephen Fry, whose every statement is likely to be witty and thought provoking, you could end up suffering from stimulation fatigue.
There’s so much happening both at sea and on land that the undemanding nature of my kind of wittering could be exactly what you need. With me you get high quality, but untaxing conversational Muzak.
At the risk of stating the obvious, you wouldn’t get that from Stephen Fry.
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