Monday, February 04, 2008

What's Boring and What's Not?

I recently had a conversation with a friend during which we were discussing what people think are boring and interesting topics of conversation. We concluded that our conversational topics were often determined by the talking habits of our parents or by our professions or passions.

In her family when she was growing up, if you talked about the weather, you were a supremely boring person. Then, in that humorous twist of fate, she married a farmer and their daily conversations are always about the weather because their livelihood depends on the weather--will it freeze tonight? will there be enough rain, too much rain?

In my bus driving/bus company owning family, roads, destinations, and driving routes were a sure topic of conversation at dinner, in the car, everywhere we were. My father, uncle, cousin, brother would discuss how to get from A to B, whether it was faster or safer to go via C or D. They could discuss (argue) for hours, and maps would be pulled out and unfolded, pointed at and written on. I thought this was normal behavior for drivers, so when I met and married The Professor and he already had a nice map collection (and still does and keeps adding to it since you can never have too many maps) it only made sense that 'real' drivers carry maps and discuss (argue) about routes to take to wherever we are going and wherever we have been.

My friend was a passenger in my car last month and told me later that I talked about places and how to get to them from where we were at the moment on various Los Angeles freeways. Hmmmm--have I turned into my father or my brother? It's true I usually consult my map (one of the many in my car because as you know you can never have too many maps) before I leave and I regularly check LA traffic if I have to drive to LA (www.sigalert.com). Mike (and others) often call us and ask, "Are you at home? Can you check sigalert? I'm stuck at...." Sigalert and Mapquest are marked as favorites on both our computers.

My question is: do you talk about the weather or traffic conditions/roads/freeways?

What do you talk about that you think is a normal topic of conversation?

12 comments:

ellen b. said...

Oh I am such a map person and figuring out what route to take and what to see is something I get wrapped up in. People have called me "Scout" We do discuss traffic and freeways. People also tend to want to talk about drugs/medications around Greg. When I get together with my sister we bore everyone talking about blogs and drive everyone nuts clicking our cameras...

Elizabeth said...

We totally love maps and keep quite old - even tatty - ones.
We loved navigating southern Morocco a few years ago.
I always let my husband drive then we are in foreign places - very unfemminist of me.
As for what we talk about - oddly, politics - which I NEVER talk about in the blog.
All best wishes

Jess said...

With me and people around me it tends to be how fat we are and what exercise we haven't done and how much rubbish we've eaten. It's actually incredibly boring, I must develop new habits!

Bethany Hissong said...

I never thought about this before but it's very interesting! I can't live without my navigation system so I don't need to talk about directions anymore (and I don't get lost anymore!!!). Since getting a dog, I talk about the weather a lot because I have to be out in it now! Schedules is probably the biggest topic (how boring!). My favorite thing to really talk about is what I want to try next to make, which is why I'm addicted to blogging!!!

artgirlATL said...

My friends and I discuss travel routes often. In Atlanta we really have messy traffic. So a back road is always better.

nikkipolani said...

Traffic is often a topic of conversation at my office - we all drive at least 20 miles from all directions. I have a fairly poor sense of direction, so MAPS ARE MY FRIEND. If only I could figure out where I was on the map and what direction I'm facing!

nikkipolani said...

Oh, and I've sent you an award :-)

Kiti said...

In the family in which I grew up, parasites and weird tropical diseases were considered perfectly acceptable topics of conversation at the dinner table. And at the school where I went, we used to play a game called "Gross-out" at meal times, when we'd try to outdo one another in coming up with the most disgusting ideas. To this day, there is not a junior high boy on the planet who can gross me out. =)

Mama Mia said...

You know the thing that you guys (more the boys than you, though) always got me grossed out with, sis? Saying that the chicken curry looked like Kitty's vomit! Which it kind of was the same color... hahaha I wouldn't touch my place if you brought it up.

Maps are cool. :o)

Beatriz said...

My Dad loved geography and reading maps...this whole post gave me great memories of him plotting our route to Yosemite and other places he and Mom enjoyed taking us.

Sara said...

This is a fascinating (certainly NOT boring!) topic for a blog!

Yes, I get out the maps to see how to get where we are going...CT does the driving and I navigate. It doesn't always work out though, we have been known to take a wrong turn because my map reading at crucial moments was faulty - ha ha! It's just another little adventure.

We have many maps too, including Thomas Bros. Guides. In my former job, preparing driving directions for my boss was very important, so I have lots of experience in that area. Happy to say, he/she never got lost, as far as I know!

I love to listen to other people talk about whatever interests them. I'm not much of a talker. Here in my own home I hear a lot about politics, current events, sports and classical music and talk radio...

With a couple of my very good friends, we like to talk about what God is doing in our lives and families.

Here in So Cal, people talk about the rain because it so rarely happens that it's a big event!

I think the only boring conversation is when all someone does is gripe and complain endlessly about the same old thing.

Barbara said...

We c ertainly talk about the weather here in England because it changes from one moment to the next. Of course it may also be to stop people talk absout what is really bothering them!!!

My boring talk - if someone does not answer and I think they have not heard, I say it again. How boring is that.