There are certain social situations that continue to baffle me. We’ve all been there. You meet someone for the first time or possibly they are an acquaintance. The small talk starts and then, like a ninja, you are trapped in a long dissertation of something that happened to this individual. The definition of “small talk” teeters on the notion that it is light and airy. Similar to sharing about the weather. One does not hold others hostage by a long, drawn-out, boring story. I am pretty sure that is in an etiquette book somewhere.
I was recently introduced to a woman through a mutual friend. I smile. We chat. There are four of us. We were making idle chit-chat when the woman launches into a story about being pulled over for a speeding ticket. She shared that she didn’t agree with the ticket and went to court. The lengthy story spanned her journey of repeatedly appealing the court’s decision. I am not sure how long this speech lasted. I wondered if oxygen depletion would cause her to pass out. My head rummaged through ideas on how to escape without being rude. There was no out. She was only making eye contact with me even through there were two other people in our hostage situation. I wanted to scream, “Please, I will happily write you a check to pay for the ticket,”. I even was rude enough to pretend I was looking at my phone, but she still continued talking. Then she uttered, “You’re going to love this.” Was I? Unless she was going to say that this conversation is about to end, the chances of me “loving it” were slim.
I think the end result was that she didn’t have to pay it. It was probably due to the courts just wanting her to stop talking. Then she says, “I have no idea how we got on this topic” and proceeded to cackle. I released myself from her verbal clutch and practically ran for the exit. Not even sure if I uttered, “Goodbye” or “It was nice to meet you”. Truthfully, it wasn’t nice to meet her and I hope we never see each other again. I do think that her “talent” would work well when the military is trying to get secrets out of our enemies. It would be more effective than water torture. They would crumble and vomit the information.
I try to be a compassionate listener, but sometimes, my compassion leaves and boredom sprinkled with annoyance creeps in. All I can say is after that conversation, I was grateful to be free. I inhaled the fresh air as I ran to my friend’s car hoping she wasn’t following me. I am aware I sound like a bitch. I’ll own it. But, no one reading this is going to tell me that they haven’t been exposed to a similar situation. I suppose it is part of the human experience, but I am hoping I have a long span before it happens again.