It is not always by plugging away at a difficulty and sticking to it that one overcomes it; often it is by working on the one next to it. Some things and some people have to be approached obliquely, at an angle.
Closing the Loop
“And this will be the third time I’ve mentioned him,” I say.
I can see Skyspook growing impatient. He has that “Page, why are you still talking?” look on his face.
But I hear my own voice coming out of my mouth, wrapping up the original thought. The one whose only practical purpose was to spawn a tangent that became the main topic of discussion for several minutes. I know the original thought isn’t interesting to him. He doesn’t care at all about the information I’m relaying. And to be fair, neither do I.
I’m not even all the way listening to myself.
But I’m powerless to stop it. I have to say the whole thing for some reason. To finish the thought.
Even if we’ve both moved on.
Later I wonder why.
Perhaps it’s for my own sense of closure. Maybe I’m a kind of completionist and can’t stand to see the discussion unfinished. I want it symmetrical. Tidy. Settled.
Or maybe it’s compulsive. Like that friend who is bothered by your uneven collar and swoops in quickly to straighten it.
Or perhaps it’s some ancient belief about politeness I’ve picked up along the way. Maybe I believe it’s more polite to bore the person you’re talking to than to not finish your original thought.
We learn unhelpful things, after all, or at least lessons that don’t port well from one context to another.
In any event, I find I need to close the loop.
And I feel a strange responsibility to those orphan loose ends.