“Conversation” – the informal exchange of ideas by spoken words (Oxford Dictionary)
I’m an expert in conversation. For instances, “Nice weather, isn’t it?” – “Ya.”; “Watched American Idol audition last night, and it’s damn funny.” – “Ya.”; “I really admire how Britney can make a comeback after all the mess she’s in.” – “Ya.”; “I think the price of petrol was and will never be determined by the factor of demand and supply.” – “Ya.”; “Despite all the economic crisis, I believe it will rebound by the middle of the year.” – “Ya.”; “My name’s Michael Jackson, what’s yours?” – “Ya.”. See?
I’m an expert in conversation, if it sticks to the strict definition of the dictionary – “exchange” of ideas, instead of “exchanges” of ideas.
So, when it comes to the more accepted definition of “conversation” – which is the “exchanges” of ideas, for an extended period of time - mind you, my expertise sucks.
It was for this reason that when I went to get my haircut yesterday, as always, I paid close attention to the two ladies who were having a conversation behind me, trying to uncover the secret of the informal “exchanges” of ideas by spoken words ... for an extended period of time.
While my hair was being cut, with my eyes half-closed, and my ears turned towards the source of interest as closely as possible, I studied, with admiration, how the ladies could turn their conversation around, upwards, downwards, left, right, and any direction as smoothly as the river flows to the sea; from matters of their children, studies or works or being sick, to the weathers, to the newly launched Honda City car, to the trend of this Chinese New Year fashion, to the scandalous photos of Zhang Ziyi, to the Hong Kong drama currently running, to the prices of vegetables in the market, to everything under the sun, over the moon, and deep within the galaxies.
At some point during the long ride from the North Pole to the South Pole, and half way on the return trip from South Pole, my mind was beginning to get weak and tired, losing its grips on the ride, and vaguely, the conversation was going something like this:
“You know, nowadays, you can never tell a person’s age by their looks anymore.”
“Ya. With all the beauty care products available, and with regular exercises, like Yoga, Taichi, people can maintain their youthful look much longer than old times.”
“You know, I always feel that you keep yourself much better than Wendy.”
“Yes? Thank you. Hahahaha ….”
It was the first time I visited that salon. Around here, about two weeks before Chinese New Year, most salons would raise their prices for the festive season. Due to time constraint, and not wanting to participate in the highs of the hairdressers’ festive celebration, instead of my usual hairdresser whose salon is about half an hour from my house, I came to this nearer salon.
My weary mind did not pick up anything at that point of the conversation. About 9 seconds later, it struck me …
“God, Dear God, please, please don’t let the lady who’s cutting my hair be Wendy …”
I was wide awake during the rest of the haircut.