I'm attempting to get psyched for a big project, so I'm going to prattle a bit.
"Do you want to go to a movie?"
"I dunno, mom."
"I don't think there's anything good out. Have you heard anything?"
"Well, this is unlikely, but the New York Times really likes that new Batman movie."
"Oh, yeah I heard that,"
"But I take everything I hear from them with a grain of salt."
"I don't think there's anything good on... I might see that Mr. and Mrs. Smith movie... that's probably really bad but I could see it."
"Yeah... probably not art... but anyway... whatever you think."
I'm not sure when I became terrified of influencing my mother. Nevertheless, I am now unable to make a statement without qualifying it into neutrality. I am unable to state a preference without an addendum, and dissenting information instantly is buried under ellipses and mumbles.
It has something to do with impressionability. My mother genuflects regularly to the Cult of Youth and Buzz, while I am off reading a b-list Fowles book whilst listening to T-Rex and perhaps flipping channels between AMC and USA. I wear a lot of grey undershirts like they were meant to be on the outside. Not that I'm immune-- I wear overpriced suede slip-on active lifestyle footwear and check pitchfork media about twice a day, even though it's only updated five times a week. I like art. All of which makes me a source to my mother. In the scene of high-class suburban Kansas City, while the rest of the town is willfully ignorant (perhaps returning the favor) about what happens in New York and LA, my mother works on scoring a new pair of Campers or knowing the words to the new Shins song so she can sing along in her Volvo-- maybe a step and a half behind 50 year olds in Soho, but running as fast as she can.
Now, I love my mother. I wouldn't change a thing. But I am easily mortified, and my definite aversion to seeming like I give a shit whether people like my shoes or my sound (I do, I do) makes it difficult to have a conversation that references fashion, art, literature, music, or pop culture. I tend to bend the conversation towards the weather, politics, and the squirrels in the back yard. Kansas politics is arcane and depressing, and it has been sunny for a week straight, so there has been a lot of rodent-oriented discussion. Or, I can talk about architecture. Most of my prattle about buildings dissapears into some merciful hole in the air, usually without comment.
My secret plan is to make her think I'm dull, without becoming dull.