Wednesday, August 18, 2010

the only air worth breathing

"Anne smiled and said, "My idea of good company, Mr. Elliot, is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company."
"You are mistaken," said he gently, "that is not good company, that is the best..."
-Jane Austen (Persuasion)

Yup, and when the best company happens to be your own family then you are fortunate indeed. Sunday dinners especially make me happy for that very reason. Love eating, kicking back and conversing. It’s true we throw out words and ideas randomly and sometimes, um, heatedly. But there’s nothing like conversation that makes you think. To sift and sort and defend and analyze your perceptions and opinions—that’s great sport around here.

So lucky me, I am surrounded with chatty people. We all like to make the talky and assert our pert opinions, too. These people, my fam-- they are prepared to handle ideas and concepts and defend them and yes, sometimes the decibel levels rise a bit, but for the most part everyone comes away enlightened, understood, and more curious about the subject discussed than before.

My cousin Paul, years ago, once had business cards printed identifying himself as:
Paul Arnett
Amusing Conversationalist

I am not so confident or bold to declare myself as such but if I were to print and pass out my own cards they might read:
CS Arnett Walker
Verbal jousting enthusiast

And then the fine print would read:
Excluding, of course, football and all things ESPN

It is a challenge, a skill to measure our thoughts and reason with words, which is really what a good argument is. And I hold and aspire to the lofty view that the best dinner table conversation (and after dinner, too) should really be about concepts and ideas instead of obsessing so completely about persons and things.

"Ah, good conversation - there's nothing like it, is there? The air of ideas is the only air worth breathing." -Edith Wharton (The Age of Innocence)

Sometimes we achieve the ideal and good convo and debate happens in my home. Sometimes not. More often than not it’s a bit Monty Python-like.

Like this. He he he

Here's the written script here. Someone should learn it and act it out for our next fam reunion:)

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