We were excited: Our first live performance since COVID hit! Even the thought of wearing masks throughout the evening was bearable, although the prospect of a musical featuring 80’s pop music was far less appealing to my husband than to me. C’mon– big hair, Bananarama, what’s not to like?!
So off we went on Friday afternoon for the hour drive to Eugene, OR for “An Officer and a Gentleman“, planning for a 5 pm arrival in time for a 6 pm dinner reservation and 8 pm curtain.
We get halfway down the highway when a text message pops up that the performance is canceled. No reason given. We pull over so I can call the hotel and plead with them not to charge the full night’s fee since this is the only reason we are coming to town. They are very nice and say I can reschedule for a different day. OK.
Then I get a new message: They are adding a Sunday performance just for those of us Friday ticket-holders. No need to change anything; the tix will be good. Yay! I call my new best friend Emily at hotel reservations and rebook for Sunday. OK again.
We get home, put the overnight bag in the closet, and look forward to tonight. Ha. Wait.
Yesterday, I get another message: the ENTIRE weekend run has been canceled due to COVID. Someone (or many someones) are sick so there will be no performances at all. They’ll “let us know” if they can reschedule. My gut feeling is that, even if they do, the production is doomed to a run of bad luck to match those 80’s mullets and big shoulders.
Our hotel is now scheduled for a January performance of something called “Waitress“. Wish me luck.
Happy weekend, everyone! I’m so delinquent in posting but here are some quick style observations from our recent trip to Paris and Bordeaux.
Almost everyone wears scarves, all nonchalantly slung about the neck
Patterned tights, no opaques
Ankle boots are popular, especially worn with short skirts (if you’re young, that is)
The Right Bank of Paris seemed to be mobbed with frenzied shoppers. Is this due to being sprung from the pandemic jail and finally being able to travel? Many post-pandemic events requiring new wardrobes? A lack of interest in museums, restaurants or architecture?
Black, black and more black. Except for head-to-toe camel. Or grey.
For that casual, old-money look, a battered Kelly looks far more chic than the brand new version
Big Birkins still look like suitcases
Lots of hats, e.g. cloches, but not berets.
Jewelry: The look is several delicate chains layered together. Women of every age wear multiple rings — especially on the second and fourth fingers. No big diamonds or other flashy pieces — the French prefer understatement
As some of you may know, I am a sucker for almost anything Hermès. Though I was dismayed by the crazy mob of shoppers at the Rue Faubourg flagship: Nearly every woman was sporting either a Birkin or a Kelly and it seemed to be the necessary accessory to get anyone to pay attention to you. Although the sales assistants have explained that production of the most in-demand styles is down due to Covid so that “nothing” is available, I did spot one woman purchasing both a Constance and a Kelly, with a stack of boxes suggesting that she was just getting started.
I did buy a lipstick.
Luckily, there is the secondary market. And if you already have more than enough bags and baubles, the following item is available online at Ann’s Fabulous Finds for a very reasonable $5,500. Surely this will be snapped up ASAP!
Yes, a designer hard hat.
Meanwhile, the flagship Chanel still boasts the original staircase, which is worth a visit even if you’re not shopping.
If you didn’t grow up on the US East Coast or belong to one of the ethnic groups mentioned, you may wonder why their conversational style is so different from your own.
In Real Life, Not All Interruptions Are Rude
Deborah Tannen for The New York Times 9.25.21
Ms. Tannen is a university professor of linguistics at Georgetown University and the author of many books on conversation, gender and other topics, including “You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation.”
Interruption — the offense of stealing the floor when someone else is talking — has become the grand larceny of conversation.
It seems self-evident. Starting to speak before another has finished violates their right to the floor. In formal contexts such as political debates, it breaches the rules. In casual conversation, it is simply rude.
But it’s not so simple. As a linguist who studies the mechanics of conversation, I’ve observed and documented that beginning to talk while another is talking can be a way of showing enthusiastic engagement with what the speaker is saying. Far from silencing them, it can be encouragement to keep going. That’s a practice that I call “cooperative overlapping.”
As offices and schools reopen, and we venture into more in-person social gatherings, we’re having to relearn how to have conversations: how to start them, how to join them, how to get the floor and keep it. On screens, it’s relatively easy: Click on the raised-hand icon or signal with an actual hand, and you’ll be invited to speak when the time is right. But when talking with others in person, how do you show you have something to say without seeming rude? How do you handle it when you feel interrupted?
These challenges are emotionally loaded, because talking isn’t only about communication; it’s also about relationships. You may resent — or dislike — those who speak over you. And being accused of interrupting when you didn’t intend to feels terrible. It could come as a relief to know that what might be going on is cooperative overlapping.
The concept was recently plucked from my academic writing and thrust into public discourse when a journalist, Erin Biba, tweeted a TikTok video in which a user named Sari shared her excitement over discovering the term in my book “Conversational Style.” Many expressed their relief that the “interrupting” they had been criticized for is a recognized supportive conversational move: “Ahhhh omg it feels so validating to hear this has a name!” tweeted the entrepreneur and writer Anil Dash. “I really struggle with talking over people (I understand many experience this very negatively) but it’s an incredibly difficult pattern to change because it’s literally how I grew up communicating enthusiasm & support.”
Indeed cooperative overlapping, like all conversational habits, has cultural roots. It is learned the way language is learned: by hearing others talk while growing up. I first identified the conversational move — and its misinterpretation — while analyzing a dinner table conversation I had taken part in, along with five friends. Three, including me, were from New York City, two were from California, and one was from London.
By transcribing the two-and-a-half-hour conversation, timing pauses and noting when two voices were going at once, I saw that we New Yorkers often talked over others. When we did this with another New Yorker, the speaker kept going, undeterred or even more animated. But if we did the same thing with a non-New Yorker, the speaker stopped.
Someone overhearing the conversation or reading the transcript might think it obvious that a rude interruption had occurred: Someone began speaking while another was midsentence, and cut them off. But based on close analysis of the entire conversation, I could see that the awkwardness resulted from differing assumptions about overlap.
Cooperative overlapping is a particularly active form of what I call “participatory listenership.” All listeners must do something to show they haven’t mentally checked out of a conversation. If they don’t, the speaker will have trouble continuing — as you know if you’ve ever talked to a screen full of motionless faces, or a roomful of blank stares. Signs of listening can range from nodding or an occasional “mhm” or “uhuh” (or a shower of them); to a murmured “I would’ve done the same thing”; to repeating what the speaker just said; to interjecting briefly with a similar story, then yielding the floor back. Even true interruptions, if they’re mutual, can rev up the conversation, inspiring speakers to greater conversational heights. The adrenaline makes the mind grow sharper and the tongue more eloquent.
Anthropologists and linguists have described overlapping talk as enthusiastic participation in various cultures around the world: Karl Reisman for Antiguans; Alessandro Duranti for Samoans; Reiko Hayashi for Japanese; and Frederick Erickson for Italian Americans, for example. And people from many other backgrounds, including Poles and Russians, Indians and Pakistanis, Armenians and Greeks, tell me they recognize the practice from their own communities.
Of course, not all members of any regional or cultural group have the same style. And those who grow up in one environment then move to another can get rusty. One of the New Yorkers at the dinner I studied told me that he’d lived in California so long, he had to struggle to stay part of the conversation. But he’s still a New Yorker: His California-born-and-bred wife often accuses him of interrupting her.
It’s when conversational styles clash that problems arise. Those who aren’t used to cooperative overlapping can end up feeling interrupted, silenced, maybe even attacked — which clouds their minds and ties their tongues. The Californians and the Londoner in my study felt that the New Yorkers had “dominated” the conversation. In a way, we did, but not because we meant to. From our perspective, the others chose not to join in. Cooperative overlapping is part of a conversational ethic that regards perceptible pauses as awkward silence, to be avoided by keeping pauses short — or nonexistent. Those of us who converse this way often don’t realize that someone who wants to speak might be waiting for a pause to join in.
Once, when I was talking about this study on a radio talk show, a listener called to say she identified: After she and her husband had hosted a great dinner party, he would accuse her of hogging the floor and shutting him out. “He’s a big boy,” she said. “He can speak up just like me or anyone else.” In the background, her husband’s voice explained why he couldn’t: “You need a crowbar to get into those conversations!” His metaphor was perfect: If the pause you expect between speaking turns doesn’t come, you really can’t figure out a way to break in.
Not all overlapping is cooperative. It can really be intended to dominate the conversation, steal the floor or even to undermine the speaker. But understanding that talking along may be cooperative can make our conversations better, as we return to in-person socializing and work. If you notice someone has been silent, you might count to seven before beginning to speak again, or invite them to speak. If you’ve been waiting in vain for a pause, you might push yourself to jump in. And if you feel interrupted, try continuing to talk, instead of stopping.
If “Don’t interrupt me” is sometimes a reasonable request, so is “Don’t just sit there! Please overlap — cooperatively!”
LONDON — Has life indoors during the pandemic left you more inactive and fighting off the “COVID 15”? You’re not alone. COVID quarantines have dramatically lowered the amount of physical activity many people usually get through simply socializing outdoors or by going to work. Now, researchers from King’s College London say getting up and moving around for just five minutes every hour can help people shake off their pandemic inactivity.
The team compared the levels of physical activity in people suffering from genetic muscle disorders, such as muscular dystrophy, prior to and toward the end of quarantine. The participants consisted of adults with a variety of physical capacities, ranging from very mobile to needing assistance to move. The study also included 41 people in wheelchairs, who studies frequently overlook, according to the team. The results, according to the researchers, are applicable to people with a variety of capabilities since COVID isolation or switching to remote work disrupted many individuals’ normal schedules.
During the year-long assessment, accelerometers gauged the level of physical activity prior to quarantine in 2019 until the end of quarantine in 2020. These sensors recorded the duration, regularity, and degree of movement in four different categories: robust, mild, low, and sedentary.
Throughout the pandemic, results showed a considerable drop in the degree of physical activity participants got each day. Individuals, on average, were engaging in nearly an hour and a half of mild exercise each day prior to quarantine. As a result of the confinement, people spent an average of 25 minutes less each day on low activity tasks and moved less often (11% less per hour) during the day.
Being physically active is about more than just working out
Due to last year’s restrictions on traveling, outdoor recreational activities, and large gatherings, the study finds people spent less time doing light activities and moved less often in general. Since this daily light activity isn’t necessarily exercise, it’s hard for people to notice these minuscule changes in daily light activity. Despite one’s health status, moderate exercise and frequent activity during the day both play a role in better health outcomes.
“Even people who don’t do much exercise have been impacted by lockdown inactivity. During COVID-19 lockdown, our study detected an extra hour per day of inactivity in disabled and independent adults with neuromuscular diseases. Moving less is detrimental to health. Reduced activity can be especially harmful for those with neuromuscular conditions, disabilities or advanced age,” says lead author and neurological physiotherapist Sarah Roberts-Lewis in a university release.
“The reduction in light activity measured in this study is likely to be similar for anybody whose daily routine has been restricted by lockdown. Based on our findings, we suggest people move their bodies for 5 minutes each hour during the day. Additionally, spend 30 minutes each day doing some extra light activity, like yoga or chair exercises. The World Health Organization activity guidelines state ‘every move counts’; they provide suggestions about light activities suitable for all abilities. Simple changes can help with reconditioning during and after lockdown,” Roberts-Lewis concludes.