Thank you for the funny conversational moments you have shared with me.
This, from John, suggests that some Jehovah’s witnesses are keen to imply familiarity — but maybe slow on how to build rapport:
“The sounds, sequences and strategies of conversation have fascinated me for many years. I was intrigued, for example, last Saturday, when a Jehovah’s Witness called at my home, in the north of Suffolk. He apparently recognised me from a previous call and greeted me with a personable, “Good to see you again.” I was a little taken aback for I did not recognise him. However, after racking my brain for a few moments I inquired, “Do you come from Wembley ?” He shook his head with a negative gesture. “Where do you come from ?” came my supplementary question. His reply, took me aback even more, “From Neasden.” When someone a hundred miles from London gets within a suburb of one’s origins, I would have thought a positive, perhaps astonished, response would have been in order. Later it came to me – Jehovah’s Witnesses tend to be rather literal thinkers – and have mind-sets to match. Wembley, of course, isn’t Neasden as Deuteronomy isn’t Leviticus !”
I also enjoyed these reflections from Robert in France, who shares my view that every person we meet is a portal to many other worlds; if we allow ourselves to see it — and hear them:
“The other person represents a kind of infinity if we are true truly open to him or her, and therefore always remains fundamentally mysterious, whether in a meeting or a longer relationship: there is always, potentially, more to explore or discover. We can never finally understand or define the other; although, of course, in practice, we may impose stereotypical identities on or reach definitive opinions about another person, but then that person somehow becomes less than fully human to us; and, conversely, the other person also may be unwilling to move beyond the security of his or her certainties or habits.”