I hope you have an elderly person in your life. A nice one, not a crotchety one; that’s just a mean person that got old. It also helps if he/she can hear. Because when he can’t, he tends to fill in the gaps with completely unrelated words and that’s how rumors get started.
You: “Boy, this cake is rich.”
Your Grandpa: “Nope. She moved to Florida.”
Older people are always ready to feed you anecdotes. Seems fair. They’ve lived a lot longer than you and they think you should learn a thing or two. Plus, they might be dying. So, you know, humor them. After an hour-long conversation that started with your announcement concerning your new summer job, Granny takes a dark turn discussing the local park’s public restrooms. “And that’s why you stay away from perverts. Here, eat these cookies.” Thanks, Grandma. Your aunt will serve up some straight-from-the-oven cheese toast while telling you about the neighbor’s divorce. “Never should’ve let him buy that car. That’s what did it. He got to thinking he deserved better. Riding around town with the top down looking like an idiot. No sense. Cars are supposed to have roofs. And that’s why you never let your husband buy a red convertible. Here’s your toast.” There’s the 80 year-old guy at the gym. Good luck if you get stuck on a treadmill next to him. Lord, if he’s not enjoying this election season. You’ll be walking the rubber right off your shoes. He’s got great stamina, though.
They have stories to share. A lot of them are shades of the truth. Some are down-right lies. Who cares? Anyone able to corroborate details uses the remote as a telephone or is dead. Try to listen. Try to laugh in all the right places. Try to use as many cliches as possible. They like that. Let them feed you. Because one day you’ll be old and want to talk.