very well. I never deflect the course of the conversation with a comment of my
own. People, if you pay attention to them, change the direction of one another's
conversations constantly. It's like being a passenger in your car who suddenly
grabs the steering wheel and turns you down a side street. For instance, if we
met at a party and I wanted to tell you a story about the time I needed to get a
soccer ball in my neighbor's yard but his dog chased me and I had to jump into a
swimming pool to escape, and I began telling the story, you, hearing the words
"soccer" and "neighbor" in the same sentence, might interrupt and mention that
your childhood neighbor was Pele, the famous soccer player, and I might be
courteous and say, Didn't he play for the Cosmos of New York? Did you grow
up in New York?
So my initial conversational gambit - that I had a funny story about being chased
by my neighbor's dog - would be totally lost, and only because you had to tell me
all about Pele. Learn to listen! I beg of you. Pretend you are a dog like me and
listen to other people rather than steal their stories.
- Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain