Let Me Finish!!!
Posted February 19, 2007on:
This essay is not about how to listen, if at all, it is an essay about putting a lid on it. But even about that I am not sure. It may just be a lament like all my other essays. Somehow, as friends, I have always attracted people who are great talkers, perhaps willfully chosen because a train-talker makes up for my lack of having much to say, and fills in the gaps better.
It’s not like I am uncommunicative, just that whenever I get an urge to speak, I scour my brain to pick out a thought I could speak on, only to find it blank as a slate. My mind is usually like a clear blue sky without a cloud or bird in sight. Or perhaps its the other way around, and my faculty of speech was never able to develop properly, because whenever I had a penny-worth thought to share, I was promptly shut up by my talkitive friends the moment the first syllable escaped my mouth.
This train-talking quality doesn’t seem to be rare for sure. For example this friend of mine whom I considered the “silent” type. I gradually learnt that in spite of his seemingly laid back and quiet dignified demeanor, the gift of the gab was certainly not one thing he lacked. His train of conversation might not spew much steam, but it motors down the rails nonetheless. I gradually realized that my contribution to the matter and quantum of our conversations gradually reduced till it was an insignificant percentage. Not to say that he’s a bore, he has a sense of humor, and has interesting episodes to recount. But the moment its my turn, he cant help making clever observations about what I “could” have done/said in the situation or how the situation “could” have turned out. Let me finish first please!!!!! Ah..I wish I could say that. Thus being interrupted at every possible juncture with gems of wit I cant help but give up in exasperation. Nor can I be blamed for sulking for the remainder of our meeting.
Train-talkers can be likened to good boxers. You patiently wait to spot a chink in their defenses, i.e, for a moment when they pause and you can dive in, but that chink/pause never presents itself, and you are kept eternally waiting. You can try and be aggressive and force your way in the moment you spot the slightest chink/pause. But hah, they’re not ones to be done in easily, and they beat you right back with a barrage of words, as for a moment (not more) only you are speaking, then both of you are speaking simultaneously for the longest time, and finally not having their stamina and realizing they’re not going to give in, you retreat, and its only them speaking.
There’s another friend, one of my oldest and best and well, a bore. After I’ve finished listening to him for two hours about what he and his girlfriend did over thier half hour lunch date, or how he and his girlfriend are AGAIN going to elope to Australia and marry next month (his themes have started revolving around his gf lately), or the intricacies of the software he’s working on at office, or how Rahul was rude to him at office (I don’t even know who Rahul is) and how he shut Rahul up (of course), or the little niggle in his right shoulder, and when I try to get in a word, invariably i see his eyes wandering all over the landscape except my eyes, and especially focusing on something over my shoulder. And just as I arrive at the climax of my story, he invariably butts in with “hey look at that little puppy playing with the sparrow” or “do you think that red car behind u will be able to back up without hitting the black one”. Well, after that, I don’t have the heart to finish.
Then there’s this friend who is an extreme case. It is not just me who has been subject of his constant yakking and he is known far and wide for it. Nobody is known to have completed a full sentence with him around. He is known to extravagantly use expressions like “F***K that and listen to this” or “what’s the big deal, hear this” or “nothing compared to what happened with me”.
Talkers seem to have archival memories. If I exactly remembered what happened during so-and-so scene in so-and-so movie/soap perhaps I might want to share it too. If I could render ten jokes on the trot, i just might. But even I wouldn’t proceed to share the entire plot of a movie, if someone asked me how it was.
I’ve realized that whenever you want to be heard, you have to MAKE yourself heard. I always notice people trying to butt in in the middle of someone else’s statement ALL the time and they have to be beaten back by constant rebuttals like “let me finish” or “hey listen”. And all this happens in the flow of the conversation, as no one takes it personally and no egos are hurt.
Well, at least the blog listens.