Friday, February 25, 2011

More Dinner Conversation

When I was a child, dinner conversation consisted of my father pontificating on how he solved some intractable problem at work, or my father drawing benzene rings on the napkin to illustrate some finer point of chemical engineering, or my father telling us how to sit: “Stomach in, chest up, and put your bottom against the back of your chair.”

In the Common Household, dinner conversation can go in many different directions. Here are just two categories:

(a) Dad as enthusiastic scientist, giving a summary of the interesting scientific lecture he heard that day;

(b) Mom as drill-sergeant (like father, like daughter), going over the platoon’s assignments for tomorrow, especially Sgt Mom’s transportation tasks.   All I want to know is who I am supposed to pick up when, and where. 

Sometimes one category just insists on breaking into another category.  As in this Actual Dinner Conversation we had one night last fall.

Me, looking at the calendar and realizing that there was a lot going on the next day:  “We have a lot of things to discuss and decide tonight, but we don’t have to discuss them during dinner.”

Husband:  “So we’re NOT going to discuss aneurysms during dinner?  Today I went to a really interesting lecture about aneurysms.”

Me:  (thinking, Yikes! Aneurysms!)  Outloud: “No.  We don’t have to decide anything about aneurysms.  They just happen.”

Youngest Daughter:  “What’s an aneurysm?”

Me:  (sigh)  “I guess we will discuss aneurysms after all.  Go ahead.”

Husband, clearly excited:  An aneurysm is when the blood vessel forms a bubble and then it can burst!  The blood vessel wall becomes thin, and then it can pop.  And then there is bleeding in the brain.

(Silently I blanch, and think fondly of the days of my father’s pontifications, benzene rings, and posture lessons.  I reach for the notepad.)

Oldest Daughter:  Mom, why are you writing this down? It’s not even funny.

Youngest Daughter:  Daddy, what is bleeding in the brain?

* * * * *
Honestly, what do most families talk about during dinner?  Please tell me it is not aneurysms.

1 comment:

Joanie said...

No, it isn't bubbles in the brain. My husband talks politics or work. Although I like hearing about his work, I prefer a discussion about sports than politics. Why? Well, for one thing, he becomes so passionate about politics that I fear he will burst a bubble!