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Rants

Taxi(ng) to communicate

In the beginning…

I had a strange, well odd, well interesting, well probably something… experience in the taxi to the station. Let me set the scene for you and hopefully try to work this through as I do.

I was getting ready to fly to Orlando, part of this is that I was up earlier than usual (by about ninety minutes) but I hadn’t gone to bed any earlier, in fact due to a compression of things to do I went to bed later so I was already a little out of sorts and I had started on caffeine.

I called the taxi and set a time, the taxi was 20 minutes early and they didn’t call the phone as usual but knocked on the door which surprised me and I had a last minute panic rush to get ready – meanwhile the taxi driver had the clock running eventhough he was early. I can see his point as he was given the job by despatch, but that wasn’t my problem and I object to being charged for something that was out of my control, had they been a few minutes early I would have been ready, but 20 minutes is a bit too early. I only think about this now and I don’t believe it affected me at the time as I only figured out the increased cost when we got to the end of the journey.

The taxi driver himself was fairly chatty, he was either up early or more likely on the night shift so had been quiet for him until then. He was however a little critical of things, he had a strong Liverpool accent which was familiar to me and reminded me of when I used to live in Warrington.

A difference of perception/behaviour

We chatted about where I was going and he tried to up-sell me a taxi ride to the airport which felt a bit odd, he discovered I was going to a conference and then claimed I could just charge it to the company (not knowing I run the company). I mentioned that the company had already paid for the flight and hotel so cost frugality was to be respected. His words were that I should lie (to myself) and claim that there were no trains. Even if I were working for someone else that is not a wise behaviour especially as it is an easy thing to verify. One can also grab historical train delays if that is your lie of choice, so it is unwise even if your specific mores let it be ethical to engage in such behaviour. Especially if it is to yourself.

He asked about my line of work, I did my usual enquiry into his level of knowledge about computers and the computer industry, I didn’t wish to bore, patronise or confuse which is so easy to do. He reassured me it was good so I said we worked on “infrastructure” software as it was close to giving some idea. He wanted to know if it was like Apple, so I mumbled no and gave a simple explanation of Perl and OSS and left it at that.

Feeling odd and weird…

I felt odd during the conversation though, a little detached and not fully engaged. I usually pride myself on being able to talk to people and so it could have been the tiredness that was making me feel disconnected.

But I have had other occasions where I feel the same way, where I cannot connect as well as I have in the past. It is as if some of my register specific phatic communion skills are rusty. I find it hard to engage in small talk and need to be warmed to it, or rather I find it hard to engage in a specific type of small talk.

This could be the particular levels of socio-cultural groups and people I am engaging with and their standard forms of communication. Added to this is my increased use of text as a form of communication in online life such as irc, text message, email etcetera. This is perhaps dictating a particular social interactive model and providing the impetus for my interactive passivity and failure.

Finding reasons…going forward…

In all honesty the introduction of a child into my life has probably added to this in many regards, further dictating modes of thinking and interaction. It is very easy to fall into the trap of all ‘parent talk’ about things that affect your child social age group and future. To discussing their development and the particular habits you engage with them. There are fascinations based upon these and I think a good number of parents follow them. I wonder however if we can generalise and say all parents are like this?

Back to my social skills however and it will be interesting to see if I can practice and regain some of the inter-social dexterity I once felt I had. This will of course mean that I will once again have to try and talk to people more which fights against my natural shyness.

Yes I am shy. I hide it well by being an extrovert and consciously pushing communication, it is part of why I am loud, boisterous and gregarious, some of what makes me want and crave attention is to hide my brains immediate pull back and hide a little then they wont see you for what you really are…

Okay, too close to psychological triggers of behaviour there…

But I am shy, and I often feel I am being awkward and don’t know what to say or how to ask and continue talking, I can rant on and on about the minutiae of things that interest me, but have trouble getting people to want to continue talking to me…

More thinking required and examination needed…

Thanks for the time.

(I had no idea how to end this…)

Sorry for all the elisions…