Wednesday, August 18, 2004

My theory on circular conversations

Around 11:45, I did my usual thing and started rounding up the Lunch Bunch. Lulu and Raisinette were talking in breathless tones about the Australian swimmer, Ian Thorpe, aka "The Thorpedo." You know, the guy with the size 17.5 feet.

So, these two were carrying on about the size of his feet, the size of his hands, his amazing lung capacity. I stopped listening, lest I blush from embarrassment.

Anyway, lunch was purchased and consumed and we all headed back upstairs. In the elevator, Lulu and Raisinette again started talking about Thorpe and I think Raisinette made the comment that the conversation had gone full circle.

This made me remember that I once developed a working theory on this very phenomenon--long before Seinfeld and M. Night Shamalyan's Signs made it popular.

I developed it, as I did with almost all of my most important realizations--during my years in the marching band.

Every summer we all went to band camp, where we learned and began practicing our halftime performance. It was always in August, held at a community college close to home. We lived in the dorm rooms, ate in the cafeteria, practiced our maneuvers and music in the hot sun on the asphalt parking lot. Being a committed band geek, I loved it.

Anyway, at nights before falling asleep my roommates and I would talk about all sorts of things, but I noticed that we often circled back around to the same stuff we began talking about. Eventually I came up with a theory as to why . . .

You see, we were in a bland, closed dorm room, sometimes in the dark and sometimes with the lights on, but the scenery didn't change. So my thought was that since our surroundings didn't change our brains didn't have new data with which to spin off into new directions and begin an unending series of topics. I think I had developed a more elaborate way of explaining it then, but that was the gist of the theory.

Looking back on it now, I suppose it was more likely that my friends and I had limited life experiences, a certain set of things we wanted to talk about, and not much else to say. We were high school band geeks living in south Georgia, you understand. Our field of lifestyles was pretty limited.

How does that explain what happened today? Is it that my friends, despite their claims of "living life" (compared to me), have similar limitations? Or is it that Olympic swimmers can reduce educated women of the world to high schoolers?

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