Truth Serum or are you listening?

11464-listening-is-the-secret-to-discover-great-stories

Most mornings I people watch the many walkers, and joggers passing by along the beach as I sit at a picnic table, underneath a pavilion facing the Gulf Of Mexico during the early mornings before 8:00 am. From time to time, someone will sit and a conversation begins with comments about the weather in southwest Florida.

I always great people with a hearty hello or good morning and I listen as some have continued to speak about the weather, some tell their tale of woe, give me their life history, and then there are those who will talk forever.

On one such occasion, I listen for over an hour as a gentleman in his late 60’s or early 70’s, spoke about his entire family, to include aunts, uncles, 2nd and 3rd cousins, his former jobs, and how his wife forced him to leave their home in rural Vermont during the winter of 2014.

He continued talking until a woman who was obviously his wife, walk passed him, and without acknowledging either of us said with a stern tone, “come, let’s go!.”

The gentleman immediately stopped talking, waved good-bye, and followed his wife to the parked car just to my left. As he retrieved the car keys from his pockets, which apparently wasn’t fast enough, because the woman yelled, “come on, open the door!, I’m ready to go! ” I hope you have have talked enough because I do not want to hear a word from your mouth anymore today”.

I cringed a little, but never looked in their direction, as I heard the harsh tone in her voice. Before he entered the car and closed the door, I heard him say. “You know, honey, I like to talk”. As he back out of the parking space and drove away, I saw a dejected man, who apparently was going to spend the next twelve or more hours in silence, until he could find someone who would listen.

Just as they pulled away, Phyllis who is a regular morning walker, said good morning and I returned the greeting. She began to explain how a female she was walking with had and accident.

I asked, what happen and Phyllis explained that the woman who got in the car was walking along side her and talking the entire time, criticizing her husband of 50 years, about how he talked too much.

They were walking when suddenly the woman stop talking and burped aloud. She stood still for a moment, and her face showed some distress. She quickly, said goodbye, turned around and walked towards the parkinglot.

I followed behind her at a distance and it wasn’t until she approached the pavilion that I recognized a dark brown stain on her pale green shorts as she walked hurriedly along the beach.

She talked so much, that I believe flatulence was just as fluid as her mouth. We both laughed and as Phyllis walked away waving goodbye. I thought of how a morning greeting, can lead to laughter.

I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.

– Ernest Hemingway

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