What is a conversation?
How will I know when it’s happening? Is it just a feeling I get inside, and is that feeling sheer terror?
Should I time my blinks with their blinks?
If we’re talking on a terrace, do I use my inside or outside voice?
What about a screened in porch, but two screens have a hole in them?
Why didn’t anyone warn me my voice sounds like this?
If I’m talking and eating, how often should I pause to take a bite? Do I accelerate for cold foods, and decelerate for hot foods? How does this work in the case of fried ice cream?
How do I make it their turn to talk again? Do I tug at my earlobe or give them a nose bop? Both?
How can I be sure I don’t have anything in my teeth? My trust has been broken ever since the Swiss chard incident of 2008.
What should I do if I asked a question and then forgot to listen to the answer?
What should my new name be now that I have to leave the country?
If I flee to Finland, the happiest country on Earth, will I have to smile during conversations? Or is their happiness more of a feeling of general contentedness?
Does it even matter where I go if I’m still plagued by the same questions?
Does anything matter except for how others perceive me in social interactions?
If I get the hiccups, do I acknowledge it? Should I pretend like it’s coming from someone else and act startled each time I hear them?
Is there some sort of easily portable shield I can hold up when someone asks my opinion on something and I have no idea what they’re talking about? Why not?
How often should I take a sip of my drink to avoid answering?
How long can I fake sip on an empty glass until someone notices?
How long can I fake sip out of a fake glass until I notice?
Is the “h” in “hmm” silent?
They just said they’ll see me “later.” Which location am I supposed to go to and when?
Do I stop conversations like letters? Sincerely, Me
When will I stop replaying this conversation in my head? It’s been twenty-seven years.
Michael Caves is a stand up comic and writer originally from Iowa. His writing has appeared in Weekly Humorist, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, and others. In college he created his own major studying decision-making and the brain. That was a terrible decision.