I was with an old coot that started to share a recent event in his life and began by saying, “In 1962, I had blah, blah, blah.” That’s where I stopped him. “This is 2022; we don’t have time for a story that starts 60 years ago and works its way to the present. You’ve got three minutes to get to the point!”
This is how you have to treat a “long-talker,” even though the tale probably will be fascinating, but us “short-talkers” have something we want to say, too. If we don’t stop him, we’ll never get a turn. Short-talkers spit out their tales like ads on TV that cost millions of dollars per minute. We get to the point!
If someone wants more than we covered, they can ask. This abrupt interruption of a long talker is the only way you get an opportunity to get your oar in the water.
Old guys are famous for parading out an extensive discourse, but should know better than to go on and on so long they get interrupted by a short-talker like me, asking “Is there a point to this?” Or, by the body language from everyone else, that screams, “Enough already!”
Some long-talkers don’t even notice that their audience is shrinking. People slinking off, when he’s looking the other way. I say, “Sorry, have to go, I have a dentist appointment.” It seems I go to the dentist a lot.
It’s even worse when a long-talker gets stuck on a detail that has no bearing on his ramblings, and starts talking to him self. “It was on a Tuesday – no, it was a Thursday – no, it had to be a Wednesday because everyone kept saying it was Hump Day.”
WHO CARES? Did the guy who fell off the ladder get hurt, or not?
This is the world of old coots I live in; you do too, I suppose, just not as bad as mine. It’s worse for us old guys who are short-talkers, who keep bumping into long-talkers.
I wish you much luck in surviving the Long Talkers in your world. At least with long-writers you can stop reading any time you want. We’ll never know, and you won’t have to suffer.
This was written in the Owego Kitchen three month ago, but got lost in my notebook. I think it was on a Monday, or a Tuesday? Maybe it was a Friday?
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