I was in my local coffee shop (Fiona’s, in Camrose – you should all go! It’s the best.) and there was this man…Okay, maybe not quite a man. He was maybe 20. Perfectly ordinary guy. Accompanied by what I suspect was a new girlfriend.
He came in talking. About Eisenhower and economics. I have to say that while I think (hope) his heart was in the right place, as someone who (unlike this boy) lived through the Eisenhower years, about 99% of what he said was pure BS, when it wasn’t terminally inaccurate and/or bordering on lies.
But okay, whatever.
He talked for the four or five minutes it took for the line-up to move. He stopped long enough for the GF to put in her lunch order. He then resumed his lecture (really, that’s what it seemed to be) and they sat down.
It was crowded, so I wound up at the table beside them. He was still talking. At odd intervals, the girl put in some head-nodding, some “Uh huh” stuff, and occasionally managed a “That’s interesting”.
At first, she was pretty enthusiastic, which is why I put it down to new-girlfriend-ism. Mind you, none of these responses merited even the tiniest acknowledgement that she had spoken or reacted.
Forty-five minutes later, he was still talking. About politics, about the school system, about autism and learning disabilities – in all of which his half-informed and generally half-assed opinions were presented as incontrovertible fact.
GF was still nodding/uh-huh-ing, but the intervals between were getting longer , and her gaze had gone from at least slightly impressed to vaguely distracted.
At the one hour mark, he was STILL in full flow and showed no signs of stopping. The GF now had that “middle distance” stare on, still occasionally nodding, uh-huh-ing, but it’s not even an open question as to whether she was still listening.
Run, I thought. Run, honey. Grab your stuff, pretend you’re heading to the washroom, and get Patty to let you out the back door. Change your name to Brian Dunleavy and join the French Foreign Legion, because this isn’t just who he is – it’s who he will always be.
If you don’t understand why I hoped she’d do that, you’re probably a man. In fact, you’re probably that man.