You’re talking to me, but I’m not listening to what you’re saying. It’s the same thing time and time again when I run into you. You meander on and on about this or that. I cock my head to the side as if I’m thinking about what you have to say. I’m consciously aware that I’m not paying attention to you anymore and am instead thinking about a lot of things. A few might be, “When will you shut up?,” “No, they aren’t interested in you and never will for X, Y, and Z reason,” or “You have a lot of nose hairs that need to be trimmed.”
You look at me for some kind of acknowledgment or approval, and I look back but behind your eyes, you are dead. I straighten myself up to feign interest in what they have to say and simply nod. There is nothing of interest here. A storm is brewing, though.
The storm in question is a bubble first. Hot air thickening, expanding slightly, pulsating through your veins from your heart to your cerebral cortex in the brain, pushing outward into your frontal lobe. There is a slight twitch in the face, a pang of anxiety and heat emanating from your forehead. The person talking sees this and takes it as a sign that you’re quite interested in their problems that they keep blathering on about.
You continue, but I’m beginning to shift my hips, knocking back and forth gathering space to make a mad dash when the timing is right. Your speech doesn’t mean anything to me. Your words are sounds that echo through my eardrums, convoluting into white noise. All I can think about is running away. But my feet stand firmly planted on the spot. I begin to scream inside my head about how much I don’t care what you have to say.
You’re still talking. It’s as if you will never stop. An anger begins to creep its way throughout my body. Seriously, when are you going to stop talking? It’s not anything I haven’t already heard before—merely a recap of a recap that is somehow longer than the initial recap. There is no rhyme or reason for me to still be standing here. I begin to think about a way to escape: praying that some homeless person will come bother us, a European tourist needing directions (“Broadway is four blocks east and runs all the day down through SoHo, you’re welcome. No, I don’t know where the Apple Store is”), or a freak rainstorm that comes out of nowhere. Just an excuse so that when they have to pause, I can quickly interject that I have to leave and that it was nice talking to them.
I walk away while cringing. Some people can’t just take the hint and shut up. Oh, dear, there’s that guy that I saw one time at that house party two weeks ago who is also going to stop me and talk to me for twenty or thirty minutes. Must escape, must cross street evading cars so they won’t hit mr. I’m not going to be cornered again.
Relieved that you survived that close call, I go underground to wait for the subway with my earbuds in my ear (listening to chopped-and-screwed Britney Spears, naturally). When the train arrives and I find solace that I actually found a place to sit, I turn to discover that that an obscure Facebook friend whose name I don’t know is sitting next to me and dives right into conversation. I take off my headphones and place my book into my bag, giving up all hope that this person will not stop talking until I reach my stop.