Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Sometimes I'd Do Better To Just Shut My Mouth

Every once in awhile I catch a glimpse of why I'm so awkward in social circumstances. I always try to be as polite, courteous and friendly as I possibly can be with people, but for some reason I just don't feel like I fit in when dealing with them. I'm terrible at small talk and really have no capacity for exchanging pleasantries. It's just not how my brain is wired.

Yesterday I stopped to get a haircut, a scenario that I dread every time it comes to pass, as the barber's seat is one of those places where small talk is pretty much expected. To tell the truth, I normally go to an Asian barber near my work; one of the primary reasons for this being that the language barrier ensures that I don't have to discuss anything more than the weather or how awful the traffic is. But yesterday I wasn't near my normal location, instead finding myself trapped at a shop populated by native English speakers.

I try. I really do. I talked about the weather and the traffic and the things you can do downtown, and I smiled and laughed where appropriate, though internally I didn't give a dingo's kidney for what was being said.

Before long the topic turned to movies. I pointed out that I almost exclusively go to a theater downtown that shows 20-30 year old movies, while my stylist mentioned that she had seen "Meet the Browns" the previous week. (For the record, I am so tired of seeing Tyler Perry's name and face on every single DVD released for the last 3 years, I could scream.)

From there we began discussing "older" movies, namely "I Am Legend". This is where my inability to deal with humans really came to the forefront. I present our conversation, as best I can recall it. (And yes, I actually DO talk like this.)

Her: I seen that "I Am Legend" film with Will Smith, you seen that one?

Me: Not as of yet, though I've heard pretty good things about it.

Her: I didn't think I'd like it, cuz Will Smith is all alone for the whole thing. I was afraid it'd be like that Tom Hanks movie....(she pauses, trying to recollect)

Me: Castaway.

Her: Yeah! He was awful in that movie. Why the hell he talkin' to a ball?

Me: (I didn't even LIKE Castaway all that much, but come on, he talked to the ball to try and retain some of his humanity since he was in a situation where he was entirely socially isolated. Wilson was his way of dealing with this.)

Her: But I thought Will Smith did aight in this one.

Me: Yeah, I need to sit down and watch that one. I read the book, but I haven't seen the film.

Her: They wrote a book about it?

Me: Well, yeah, the movie is based on the book by Richard Matheson. It was written in the 50's. 54, I think?

Her: Oh really?

Me: Yeah, and they've made two other film versions of it, "The Last Man on Earth" and "The Omega Man".

Her: Hunh.

Me: And George Romero has openly admitted that it was a large source of inspiration for "Night of the Living Dead". So, in reality, it was the progenitor of the modern zombie film. You can thank it's influence for those and the more modern day contagion films, like 28 Days Later.

Her: ...

Me: ...

At this point you could pretty much hear the crickets chirping. From that point forward she had very little to say to me. And once again I just retreated into my shell, praying that this whole experience could be over soon.

This is the case for me, all too often. I have a bad tendency to delve way too much into trivial information, forgetting that the majority of people I come across don't care, and in many cases are a bit creeped out by somebody that can recall information that quickly. My rather formal methods of speaking with strangers don't help much, either.

Providing boatloads of information where a mere word would suffice has always been a quirk of mine. I tend to make associations very quickly and I rather enjoy verbosity, particularly in conversation. In fact, on a few occasions in my childhood I was called upon by my friends to completely horrify or offend some female who had taken too keen a shine and would not go away. Ten minutes around me could ensure that they'd have no interest in my friends any longer, if it meant they'd have to be exposed to me on a regular basis.

For example, here are some things that have crossed my mind and been spouted out before I realized that the other party likely didn't care:

Upon hearing that a customer's name was Gary Gilmore I pointed out that he was executed in Utah in the 70's by firing squad, was the first person executed after the reinstatement of the death penalty and that both of his corneas were transplanted after death.

Pointing out to a first time passenger in my car that the cd we were listening to (Buried Dreams by Clock DVA) was rumored to be the album that was in Jeffrey Dahmer's stereo when he was caught. I also made note of its themes of sexual sadism and serial killing.

Discussing at great length the methods by which chicken nuggets and hot dogs are created, usually while eating chicken nuggets or hot dogs with somebody.

All of these things are prime examples of why I just don't seem to fit in with the majority of people I meet. Couple that with the fact that I don't tend to like people in the first place and you can imagine that I'm a hoot at parties.

TechnoratiTechnorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Saradevil said...

Well, you may be totally socially akward but you've just given me a new CD to listen too. I love themes of sexual sadism and killing.

Check out She Wants Revenge for that two.

I could say more, but I have these very conversations daily in Korea.

E said...

There you are! Haven't seen you in a bit.

I know that taste is subjective, but I must admit that I wasn't overly thrilled with Buried Dreams. It was a tad too minimalistic for my tastes, but hey, you may love it.

Thanks for the suggestion. I will definitely check that out.

EuroYank - Virginia Hoge said...

Tony with April Fools jokes you are very awkward!

E said...

But I'm not Tony. And this was no joke. Just an observation of my twisted little mind.

Tony and I are two completely separate entities. I've known him for a good many years, but I assure you that we are not one and the same.

Bonez said...

Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for that! I mean about E and I being two totally different and separate entities. (I actually shuddered at the mere thought of being E for even a moment)

E said...

I think many people shudder at the thought of being E.

Or at least the ladies.

And it's not being E, it's being with E.

And it's not shuddering, it's trembling with a mixture of fear and excitement.

Or not.

Anonymous said...

This post sums E up pretty well.. One of my all-time favorite "E" moments was playing trivia with him in a bar. On a lot of the answers, it was followed with the who-gives-a-shit explanation. Nearing the end of the game (and with much alcohol), they played a clip of a song (I think it was a slow celine dion love song), and you had to name it. I was very surprised when E buzzed in immediately. He very eloquently chimed in with "I believe that is Fucked with a knife by cannibal corpse", and then proceeded to give album release date, and writing credits.

Ahh.. good times.

E said...

Ha ha ha. That was a great one.

And for the record, the additional information given about "Fucked With a Knife" by Cannibal Corpse was that it was the second track from their 1994 release "The Bleeding", which subsequently was their last release with vocalist Chris Barnes before switching over to George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher.

Why do I know this shit?