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What’s the point of getting to the point?

I have occasionally been accused of rambling.

JJ Ying | Unsplash

Which always makes me say, hey, what’s the bloody rush? We’ll get there when we get there anyway. It doesn’t matter how much we agitate through things, the same unwarranted rush of excitement will be there at the other end no matter how many wrong turns we take on the way. And the real fact of the matter is that I already know what’s there, and the whole point of getting there in the end is to get there with the people I’m with, rather than just to get there.

If that sounds like I’ve phrased it so it pertains more to traveling than to conversation, that’s because I’ve often found a lot of correlation between conversation and travel. Not only because they have similarities in structure — you know, departure point, boring middle bit, and climactic, sometimes abrupt, ending.

Conversation and travel are really kind of the same.

Plus, it seems as if in the confines of almost all our vehicles, conversation becomes a social expectation. I mean, whenever I go on a drive with anyone I end up talking to them. Even my worst enemies. I may have a plan to stab them at the end, but during the drive, we’re restricted to this five-by-six box, or whatever it is, and we had better make the best of it.

I don’t know if anyone else does this, but I even go so far as to estimate how long the drive is compared to the conversation topic. I’ve only got three or four conversation topics, really, so I can usually think ahead. I’ll often edit out details, if the drive will be short, or plan on indulging in tangents during road trips. The point is so that by the time we get to the other end of the drive the conversation will come to a satisfying moment just as we get wherever it is.

There’s a real science to it.

And that’s just drives. I could bore you batty with my few stories about my single-serving friend experiences on trains and planes and things.

It doesn’t seem to matter what mode of transportation you favor. You could be bumbling along on the back of a donkey into the Grand Canyon. There will still be a conversation involved. Because we all have an addiction to stimulation, and the simple pleasure of going through the process of getting somewhere is not, in itself, stimulating enough. We also need to enjoy the sound of our own voices, demonstrating why other people are trying to get away from us in the first place.

So conversation and travel have a lot in common.

Including road rage. I have often been the recipient of conversational road rage.

It’s a real thing. We all have different driving styles, and most of us recognize what style we indulge in.

You know, like, you’ve got your, “Doesn’t deserve that car,” drivers, in their powerful BMWs and zippy little Italian rushers, who hold up traffic because they just do not know how to put their foot down.

You’ve got your, “In a new town — didn’t check the roads,” drivers, stopping at every stop sign to check the GPS on their phone and see whether this is where they need to turn. Sure, there are street signs right there, but those could have been rearranged to confuse the Nazis. Probably were.

You’ve got your, “You deserve that other guy’s car,” drivers, pushing their rusty, slightly refurbished VW Beetles past the limits of those little air-cooled engines and passing everyone in complete defiance of the principles of mechanical engineering.

These are only a few. You know what your style is.

And yes, there’s a metaphorical element to these driving styles.

I like to call my driving style, “I don’t road rage, but I do road cat.”

I think it explains itself.

Because what’s the point of being agitated about driving? What’s the point of rushing around and trying to carve a second here and there off the trip? Once you start, the only control you can take over how fast you’ll get there is choosing your route, and once you’ve picked the one you like best you’ll get there when you get there. Doesn’t matter what you do.

It’s the same with conversation, but worse, because the thing about living in the modern world is that most people already know what you’re going to say. People talk so much these days that if I’m even only halfway aware I absorb enough pop culture to guess where almost any conversation is going.

It might have been true before, but it’s more true than ever now. We could easily replace all “conversation” with a weekly exchange of reading lists. “This is what I’ve been reading. Remember what you know about my personality. Now you know everything that I will have to say for the next year.”

We could even exchange quizzes with the reading lists that we could return to each other. You know, asking how strongly people agree with our choices. I read Live Right and Find Happiness (Although Beer is Much Faster) by Dave Barry. How much do you agree with this text? Do you a) strongly agree, b) agree, c) have no opinion, etc.

That would be far more efficient and much less stressful. We would never need to go out then, which would be fine with me.

So we don’t really need to talk anymore. Not to exchange information, anyway. Or to exchange conclusions. We can pretty much just say, “I read this, and I agree with it,” and that usually says all we need to say.

Which is why I don’t feel much interest in “coming to the point.” I made my point when I started. I have simple points to make. You already know what I know. We all know the same stuff. All I can tell you that you don’t know is what I think about it.

Because all journeys invite the question, “Hey, since we’ve got to travel to the other end anyway, what should we do in the meantime?”

People talk a lot about wasting time. The worst way I’ve ever wasted time is with agitating about wasting time. It’s all going to take the same amount of time no matter how agitated I get, so I may as well enjoy the company while I can.

Or, when I drive around with my enemies, finish my stabbing plan.



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Oliver “Shiny” Blakemore

Oliver “Shiny” Blakemore

The best part of being a mime is never having to say I’m sorry.