My sister hates chit-chat. Smiling and making polite conversation is her idea of pure torture; she is a true introvert. My dad is the opposite, and I guess my mom, too. They could strike up a conversation with a brick wall. I’m probably somewhere in between. I’m not likely to strike up a conversation with just any old stranger, but if someone wants to chat, I will oblige. Does that mean I am happy to have these conversations? Not always. But I am polite sometimes to a fault, so I smile and begrudgingly indulge someone’s need to talk.
Times I am not in the mood to chat:
1. Today has not started out so well. The weather is gorgeous and I got to sleep in, but I’m still managing to harbor a bit of a bad mood. It probably has something to do with the Dr. Pepper in purse.
Let me explain: I went to Subway on my way in to work. While reaching for a large lid for my gigantic diet coke, I somehow managed to press the Dr. Pepper switch on the beverage fountain and pour the drink directly into my purse! No major casualties except for my checkbook. But I have been a little sour ever since the incident.
What does this have to do with chit chat? Well, the usher on duty at the theater would love to hear my life story. She’s very sweet, but I just want to mentally check out until the next customer comes in….argh. But I don’t have the guts to coldly ignore her while pretending to read something important on the computer.
2. Last month, I had to run by the post office on my way to work. As per usual, I was running a wee bit behind. As I parked my car, I saw a homeless man eyeing me. I did not have time for this! I put on my tough girl face ready to ignore him while I paid the parking meter. He started right in on his sob story. When I turned to look at him, he said, “My, you are beautiful.” Damn, you are good sir! I don’t have a stitch of make up on and my hair is still wet from the shower, but I actually believed you. He started to tell me about his dream from the night before which was all about finding his mother or some such meant to pull on my heartstrings. I didn’t really want to hear the story, so I just gave him four dollars. He was upset that it wasn’t a 20. Well, that’s the last time I make conversation with you, mister!
3. The winner of unwanted chit chat was a gentleman I encountered last weekend at the bar. My friend and I were having a conversation (and if I’m being honest checking out all the hot guys who were there….most of them were married or with a girl already), when we were so rudely interrupted by a man almost 20 years older than us wearing a white turtle neck under his polo shirt and holding glass of red wine with ice cubes in it. I know he sounds like a winner, but it gets better.
First, he started in on all of the problems with our healthcare system. My friend to cut him short, “Actually, I work in health insurance.” (Which is true.) That did not stop him. At this point, I realized this guy was a close talker and had a distinct smell described by my friend as ‘a mixture of hair gel, tobacco, b.o., and desperation’. He informed us that his name was DJ and he was part Spain. That’s right not part Spanish or from Spain but part Spain. Then, he warned us that lead is put into all lipsticks and that he was writing a book. We should look for it – his name was Hector. What!?! I don’t know where DJ went, perhaps that particular personality had fled the conversation like I so desperately wanted to.
Image from Hyperbole and a Half.
To try and exit this awkward situation, I turned to the t.v. (positioned away from DJ/Hector/part Spain man) and saw a preview for a movie with Morgan Freeman. I started a conversation about it with my girlfriend. You would have thought we were the biggest Morgan Freeman friends on the planet (which I guess isn’t that far from the truth because Morgan Freeman is pretty awesome, don’t you think?). Our new friend took the hint, informed us that he was looking for 39 year old woman, and walked away. He did remind us about his book one more time. The whole situation provided us with a pretty good laugh – the turtleneck alone was comedy gold.
But that is not the end of my story. He returned to try yet again to engage us in conversation. My friend turned to him and let him know that we were having an important conversation. His response: I’m not talking to you – I’m talking to her. (AAAhhhhhh! Why me?) But she’s a good friend and she did not leave me hanging. She told him to please leave because she is much braver than I am. I would like to think if she wasn’t with me that I would have done the same, but honestly I most likely would have suffered through this guy’s ramblings for much longer.
He did finally leave but not before reminding us that we should be going to church and that miracles happen everyday. Thanks for the spiritual advice, Hector (DJ?). Next time I’m in a crisis of faith or need advice on my healthcare, I will know who not to ask. By the way, it’s 65 degrees outside. Lose the turtleneck!