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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Communication comes in different forms

Friday, May 27, 2011

When Dave and I were first married I started noticing a strange behavior in older couples -- the majority of them would dine in restaurants without talking to each other. BORING! I told myself. What's the point of being together if you aren't talking?

Now, I realize 1 Thessalonians says to mind your own business and lead a quiet life, but this was, in my opinion, overkill. Fortunately, it wasn't an issue with us.

Dave was quite the chatterbox, so we were rarely without conversation. (Well, one of us was; my memory isn't quite as sharp as it used to be.)

Anyway, for us there were always issues to discuss and episodes of the day that invited retelling.

I told myself then that I would never allow us to get to that point where we went out to eat merely to ... well, eat. There was just something sort of tragic in that mindless behavior.

A few years into our marriage, however, I saw something that made simple, conversationless dining look appealing.

It involved an elderly couple sitting across the salad bar from Dave and me in a Kansas City restaurant, their meal finished but their date, obviously not.

On that particular Sunday, things were relatively quiet -- except for the three portable televisions the man had lined up in front of him at his table, each showing a different sporting event. This senior citizen was prepared for an afternoon of an all-you-can-eat buffet and all-you-can-watch ballgames. He was in jock paradise while his wife entertained herself by looking out the window at the cars passing by.

That, naturally, prompted meaningful dialogue between Dave and me:

"Patty, stop staring at that couple!"

"Oh my gosh, Dave, I bet it took him three trips just to get in here. He had to have brought along an extension cord, too."

"Patty, forget about it and enjoy your meal!"

"This is so sad. Should I go invite his sweet little wife to come and join us?"

"You don't know she's his wife and you don't know she's sweet."

"Well, she sure looks sad. Possibly this is one of those hidden camera episodes where they are actors and the Good Samaritan bystander is to defend the helpless. And then you get $100,000 and a chance to compete for the grand prize."

"Oh, good grief."

Like I said, meaningful dialogue.

Dave went on to say some other silly things like how the wife might actually enjoy the man's silence and perhaps she had purchased the television sets for him to make him happy.

Surely there were scriptures that addressed such abuse and I could justify my frustration to Dave using those verses. After all, it was obvious that someone needed to hear what God had to say in the matter.

I was scrambling for a Bible verse to prove my point when Dave remarked, "Isn't there a scripture about minding your own business?"

"Well, if there is, I'm sure it doesn't apply in this situation."

We sat in silence for the next few minutes and then Dave finally spoke.

"Hey, Patty, the next time you go to the dessert bar, can you check out the score of the Packers game?"

"Real funny, Dave. Real funny."

Patty LaRoche
Patty LaRoche: Face to Face