When people talk I try to listen. It’s my job to listen, really, but even when I’m not on the clock I make an effort to tune in and hear what they are saying.
Sure, I have my moments when I’m zoned out, or maybe I don’t hear something right and I’m not able to interpret it properly when I report it, but for the most part I’m a listener.
I walked in on an unusual conversation recently and found it to be one of those awkward moments when you really can’t say anything — you just have to listen.
A gentleman was speaking to someone in the law enforcement profession about registering something. I figured it must be a gun because what else do you have to register with the police?
But as the conversation continued, the gentleman said: “When I told her I was moving to (city name changed to protect the innocent) she said ‘that’s where all the sex offenders live’ and I said, ‘well then I should be right at home’.”
I forgot more than firearms need to be registered with the local police — and it’s good to know all the sex offenders are apparently living in one place, making it easier to keep an eye on them.
Another conversation I was recently privy to, and ultimately took part in, was a discussion at a get-together with my girlfriend’s family about snoring. The discussion started out about someone’s loud, deep snoring keeping others awake and turned to how people snore differently.
One participant in the conversation described a family member who made puffing sounds when they snored. Another spoke of a whistling snore they’d heard. This brought back fond memories of my own mother who, when she snored, sounded like a teapot.
That is a sound I must say I really miss now that she’s gone, but one I will always remember.
Probably the most uplifting conversation I’ve had recently was with my 9- year-old son, Sam. I took him with me recently to Relay for Life where I was taking pictures for the paper and we were watching the stage at the field from the bleachers.
On the stage an elderly woman was dancing to the music all by herself, having just a wonderful time.
Sam asked me why she was dancing. I told him maybe she was a cancer survivor who was just celebrating life, or she had lost someone to the disease and was dancing to remember them, or maybe she was just enjoying the music and having a good time because she liked to dance.
There was no doubt you could feel her happiness and you couldn’t help but to smile seeing her there enjoying herself.
Sam watched awhile, then turned to me and said, “She’s so happy. I like seeing people happy dad. It makes me feel happy.”
It made me happy to hear my rough and tumble little boy say something so thoughtful — one of those moments when you realize they are growing up.
And somewhere his Nana, who lost her own fight with cancer six years ago, was watching and probably dancing along. Like Sam, she liked to see people happy too, and I know she loved to dance.