I’ve been called a lot of things due to my talking, but never, not ever have I been called a sharp talker. More often I'm told I have a big mouth, I talk fast, I talk too much, too loud, I talk about boring things, I laugh at my own jokes, I get sarcastic, I gossip, I make awkward small talk, I swear like a truck driver, I make too much idle chatter, I lack eloquence, I’m blunt, I blurt things out, I reveal too much, I don’t say what I mean, I can’t spit it out.
This guy, he said I'm a sharp talker.
What he meant was the timbre of my Midwestern accent was sharp, a bit clippier than the drawly southerner or laid back valley girl. It wasn’t an insult, but maybe not quite a compliment, either.
Yeah, sharp. That got me thinking about how we communicate, how our message is sent and received. It says a lot about us, about who we are based on not only the accent you have, but the way you carry your speech and the emotions you choose to propel your words.
My uncle once told me he thought if your mouth is foul, your mind must be as well. People who use ugly language just show they are consumed by ugly thoughts. That was enough to keep me from using c’s and t’s the rest of the night.
For tonight, a guy my roommate’s boyfriend dragged in, of an undeterminate age, told me San Francisco had an accent, I didn’t believe him and demanded he say the pledge of allegience to me in that language so I could hear it. Somehow that led to him telling me about being in the witness protection program as a result of being caught in the fire of a high profile murder case in the city, as a result of being shot. All I could think was, “how can I be a sharp talker? I’ve never been shot!”
Then again, when he told me about his son committing suicide and I asked about his relationship with his other son (part of a twin), and asked about how he felt when his friend got shot in front of him. I asked what made him quit smoking, if he had to keep looking over his shoulder since the trial, if he trusted his intuition, who he did business with. I asked all kinds of things like I had known him forever, like I had the right to. I asked as if he had no choice but to answer me the honest truth. And for some reason, he did.
Maybe some of that fluffy chattering I do really does have an edge to it.