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The best conversation, I think, is serious but jovial, drawing in ideas and reference to some shared joke or reference, sometimes rejoined with a sly observance, contradiction, further witticism, or self-deprecating but hearty laugh. Talking even of the weather leaps from the mundane to the sublime. Whether or not you are equals, you meet as equals — true conversation is impossible without some assumption of egalitarian responsibility and enjoyment. Otherwise, it is a sermon, a lesson, or a benefaction. Being assumed an equal to someone who can easily navigate deep waters is challenging and, at times, almost deliriously complimentary. You feel as if you have emerged from some narrow humdrum corridor into the dazzling open air, shining Alpine heights resplendent in the near-frightening sunlight. And although it seems closest to romantic love, what wells in you is appreciation, mostly fraternal, of the mere fact that this is possible.

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