…or conversation for the socially awkward.
Do you ever have days where you manage to stay sane; interact with lovely people or – better still – no people at all?
Do you often have days where you seem to run into every nutter going? Or as I like to call it – Wednesday.
I just seem to attract all forms of crazy and awkward- in the form of people, conversations and situations. Today was no exception.
I’m coming back from visiting someone and on the way back to the train station, I bump into one of their more verbose neighbours. So there I am, with 26 minutes to do a walk which a nearby signpost reminds me will take 17 minutes to do, with my darling furbaby in tow who is determined to sniff every. single. goldarn. blade of grass going and up pops Mrs Verbose, with clear plans to tell me her life story for the I’ve-forgottenth time.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I did stop and talk. I know that much about humans.
I’m not rude but at the same time, I could almost hear the tick-tock countdown in my head. I spend about 10 painful minutes of nodding and making what I’ve learned are mollifying sounds. I’ve watched you humans carefully on this one. As long as I nod, and say things like ‘really? Oh, that’s good/bad’ (Note to self: do NOT mix those two up), I can go on auto-pilot while I plan my escape.
Long story short: even with the unexpected accompaniment of a lovely person who thought I was talking to her and not the furball, I actually managed to get on the train and get home before crumbling into a pile of introverted angst.
Which, if you’re me, is pretty much any conversation.
I mean, we’ve all heard this one, or something similar, I’m told…
You know, this one.
Stranger: Where do you live?
Me: I live in south Wales.
Stranger: Ooh I know someone who lives in south Wales – their name is Jones. Do you know them?
I think everybody’s had that one at some point or other but how about some of the other clangers?
Like, for instance, the person who doesn’t speak to you for ages and then when you do speak to them, they only seem to be interested in finding out how much money you earn. And they won’t let it go. And they keep coming back to it. Especially if you work in something unusual.
Does anyone else get this a lot?
And then there’s this one…
Something similar to the “Do you know the Joneses” is the person who rabidly insists on describing the other person’s character, appearance or domicile in great enough detail to browbeat you into admitting that yes, yes, you do know them… Now please make it stop…
This is the location variant…
It starts simply enough. You’ve answered the ‘Where do you live‘ question correctly. Then you get told that their cousin’s friend’s brother-in-law lives in the same area and do you know it? It’s just around the corner from you!
And as much as you’re trying to tell them no, they will not let it go. It’s right up there with the Mr ‘oh-I-know-someone-who-lives-about-30-miles-away-from-you-but-it’s-all-the-same-area-so-you-must-know-them‘. In this case, they give you all manner of landmarks that you don’t know and you keep telling them that but does that stop them?
It’s like getting caught under a boulder rolling downhill.
They come up with things like ‘they live a couple of streets away from the butchers‘.
My eyes glaze over.
They still don’t take the hint. Yes, you know the butchers – the one that does the amazing sausages.
But even that doesn’t stop them. They keep going but clearly haven’t picked up on the fact that you really have no interest where this complete stranger lives and you really don’t want to be bullied into admitting that you do know where such and such a place is. Even if you don’t. Which is more often the case.
Of course, there is one risky prospect which, as long as you can stop yourself from gnawing your own elbow to stay conscious, does work. That is to get the other person talking about themselves.
And humans just love talking about themselves, don’t they?
So if you can keep your eyes open during their TED-worthy speech about the benefits of different densities of concrete, you’re onto a winner. But you have to remember to do the thing with the head and make the correct noises.
TIP: try to sound as genuine as possible. I can’t do it and apparently, I don’t do sarcasm either so I’m really onto a loser with that one.
Are you following me here yet?
I mean, in a non-creepy, follow-this-blog kind of way…
You know what I mean.
I hope so.