Tuesday, 26 January 2016

With renewed vigour.

I must admit, in recent years, I'd forgotten the joy of witty banter.

I remember it from years ago, from school: the fast retorts intended to wound... if only slightly. The ripples of expectation of reaction to action. The biting barbs muttered under my breath that everyone still heard. The resulting laughter...

But the people I volleyed with were not friends.
They were classmates and competitors... but perhaps foolishly, I never allowed the opportunity for them to become friends.
We went to the same university, at the same time, and yet never stayed in touch.
At the time, I hadn't wanted to.

In those university years, a few people provided the energy and wit to make for a witty repartee. There were still lunch times
But many more did not.
Perhaps the banter gave the impression that we were adversaries instead of friends...

In London  there was also that someone. A different someone, but one with whom I collaborated, discussed, shared, all the while hurling barbs at each other, across the living room, the kitchen table, the desk at which he pulled the tortured poet pose as he worked and I hovered nearby learning everything I could.

Needless to say, the last few years have been quiet... calm... in comparison. The job was more acrimonious tension which thankfully was short term in duration. Then I spent the next two years delving into my hobbies and sorting through my grandfather's estate. While it was rewarding on a personal level, my conversation deteriorated and my wit took a holiday. 
The family were still present and though Granddad may have seen our interactions as quarrelsome, they were more petty bickering and squabbling, like baby birds after the same regurgitated worm. It was never witty.

It's only now, working again with people who share this boundless excess of energy, this humour turned sideways, that I've realised that I've missed it, and that I have missed it... dearly.
Understanding intimates that it is a game, all carried out in good faith and good fun, with never the intention to wound.
It makes you think on your feet, trust your instincts to know which subjects are automatically out of bounds without having to be told or having to bear the consequences of an ill-considered word. And it makes you consider the alternatives of every utterance and every occurrence, determining how these too can be manipulated to your benefit, and yours alone.

There may be insults hurtled digitally across the office floor, alliances and double crossings. And words slip out of your mouth before you've had a chance to realise what you've said, but they're greeted with a roar of laughter and returned a moment later, volleyed back in a new form, but with the same sentiment reverberating throughout.

Even the moments of quiet are broken by a soft chuckle and the rapid clatter of the keyboard before eyes return to the work before them, the only trace of delight being the smile still hovering in the corner of the mouth.

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