“What Was The Most Interesting Conversation You Had This Week?,” my friend asked me over dinner last week.
I sat back in my chair, took another sip of wine. In order not to appear like the most shallow human being on earth, I was certainly not going to answer this one without putting in a least one minute of thought, because my initial reaction was about the weather. I’ve talked lots about the really crap spring weather we have been having, and how it affects me, Ronna Benjamin. But everyone knows talk about the weather is literally the most uninteresting of subjects.
I took a sip of wine, and thought some more. Never very good under pressure, I remembered that I face-timed with my best friend about her mother of the bride dress. That was interesting to me and to her, but clearly not to anyone else. I had also talked on the phone about the latest episode of the TV mini-series Big Little Lies , but we all know how shallow that conversation is. I was going nowhere, fast.
And then I remembered this conversation, which is the one I related to her, which I can say for certain was the not the most interesting but had the potential to be the most interesting:
Me to Mike, in bed: “If you had to choose one thing- between having your phone, or me, with you on a desert island– which would you choose?” I am a genius at the 11 PM loaded question.
Mike, also in bed, dozing off: “is there cell service and wifi on the island?”
Me: “Yes.” (I was not going to make this easy on him.)
Mike: “You, of course.” And then he started to snore.
Had he answered the other way, that would have been a really interesting conversation- clearly, the “best in show” for the week. (Days later, I came across an article- one of the most NYT most popular in addressing the same question—“The Phones We Love Too Much” which was published on May 2. I still am not sure whether I read the title before I asked the question to Mike so the topic was simply on my mind, or whether I asked him the question before I read the article, proving that I am some kind of weird prescient.)
Over the course of the next few days, I gave this question some additional thought. What interesting conversations had I had in person last week? How about on the phone? Should email and text “conversations” count? I decided that they could, or we might not have enough conversations to consider.
These are a few additional conversations that I had (in no particular order):
- Regarding pre-existing conditions under the ACHA.
- Regarding the upcoming election in France.
- Regarding the menu and table setting for the dinner party my friend and I are hosting.
- Regarding the future growth of betterafter50.com.
- Regarding my daughter’s upcoming trip to Ireland and Scotland.
- Regarding the best gift for a friend that was just diagnosed with breast cancer (link).
- Regarding teen suicide and the controversial TV series “13 Reasons Why”.
- Regarding the Art in Bloom exhibit at the MFA.
- Regarding the reaction I received from my article on my mother’s death.
- Regarding how our President can’t put together a full, coherent sentence (other anti-Trump rants.)
This was all an enlightening exercise, and I urge you to try it. All my most interesting conversations were face to face—not by phone, not by text, not by email. And clearly what you are not talking about is just as telling as what you are. Missing from my conversations was any talk about my breast cancer, and surely that is a good thing. But neither was there any conversation about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and no real dialogue (just rants and violent agreement) regarding the Trump presidency and a host of other really interesting world issues.
Clearly, I’ve got to up my game a bit.
How about you? What was the most interesting conversation you had this past week?