Conversational — what you didn’t say

by Giulietta Passarelli, Writer —

There’s always much left unsaid in conversations or relationships. It’s what people don’t say that matters as much if not more than what they say. If you said, “It’s such a nice sunny day,” but what maybe you wanted to say was what you needed to get off your mind or off your chest and the sunny day could go take a flying leap or hide behind a cloud for all you cared.

Have you ever felt that way? You’d rather the sky be full of clouds reflecting your mood. It’s like when someone asks, “how you doing”? You smile and say, “fine.” Yet because of an unexpected bill in the mail like your mortgage had an escrow shortage, or the extra few bucks you just put in a jar had to go towards a plumbing problem and there wasn’t enough to cover it and you thought you might have spent it on a mental health day, you want to erase fine from your vocabulary, clam up, and walk away. And if you let out your feelings of disgust or the tremors that reached nine on the Reichter scale, you will get: “It’s not so bad. Be positive. Troubles go away.” All good sentiments. But you’d rather hear, “rip the toilet out”, “write a letter to your Congressman citing the bank’s irresponsibility of giving you an overage, then stating there’s a shortage, even if they did the math right, it still doesn’t feel right and there oughta be a law!” You would give anything not to hear, “suck it up” or “be positive” when things go anywhere but where you want or need them to go. That’s poetic.

The point is: When everything has gone haywire and it’s mounting and feels like too much and someone is asking you how you are, don’t respond with “I’m fine.” Respond with “I have no response to that” as spoken by Meg Ryan playing Angelica in the movie joe versus the volcano.

Another form of conversation to try when someone asks you how you are would be:

“Does your kitchen sink leak? No? I see — you’re having a good day.”

“Did a tree fall on your house during the storm? One fell on mine. It’s rather a work of art.”

“There’s no power at our house but we used paper plates to fan ourselves, and there was plenty of canned food. Couldn’t ask for more than that. It’s quite a life.”

“My toilet kept making sounds that kept me up, so I took a hammer to it. Solved the problem.”

So, when you hear the oft mentionable dribble of “how are you”, remember refrain from saying “I’m fine” when it’s killing you to say it and just say “I have no response to that” or try mentioning a positive household problem that you solved like the time you went to a party or elsewhere with a scotch taped hem. If it makes you smile or makes your day, you’ve done your best, so beware of the conversational trap that massacres your mood or your day. Love yourself, I say, and beat down those mundane and sometimes not genuine concerns from others, especially if you haven’t seen them in ages. Respect yourself by not saying “I’m fine” when everything has gone wrong or is topsy turvy.

And if you’re feeling down and the words “be positive” are wrangling your nerves, remember what Garfield says in Garfield: The Movie, “Just another splattered bug on the windshield of my life.”

Author and Writer of middle grade novels, short stories, & poems, for adults & the ageless:; updates website every 1st of the month.

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