I, myself, am no stranger to the seduction of logorrhea. Scant are the times that I can answer a simple question without an accompanying anecdote or personal tale that may or may not relate. I am a talker. I talk. The sound of my own voice often annoys me. Come to think of it, I'm not altogether positive how I've managed to keep any friends throughout the years. In fact, I can say with a favorable degree of certainty that I'm a story or two away from being the neighborhood elderly with 16 shelter cats and a disconnected phone through which I jibber-jab to no one all the live long day... I won't even get trick or treaters.
This is hardly the point.
The point is that there HAS to be a line SOMEWHERE... Some societal agreement upon what we are and are not allowed to share with one another. Mostly, I'm lookin' at you COMPLETE STRANGERS.
I'm happy to nod along, feigning interest in the kitschy narrative of a pal or co-worker. I'm typically thrilled to engage in a silly allegory or third party recounting. And I expect the same courtesy be done for me. But when you and I have zero foundation on which to build upon, I request the conversation be kept to greetings and pleasantries and need-to-know info.
The line crossers are many, the details vulgar. And all induce cringe-worthy levels of awkward. But there are two major offenders that I encounter almost daily.
1) The Filter-Free-Killjoy:
- When the answer is "If my asshole husband hadn't left me for my whore of a nanny in my third trimester, there would be" to the innocently posed question "Is there someone we can contact in case of an emergency?"
- When the question "Why do you need to see the doctor today?" is satisfied with "I'm pretty sure I got herpes from the bartender I slept with last week. Cuz... ummm... my friend did, so I'm guessing I probably did too."
- "Time killed my old lady last week. I'm probably next."
- "My boyfriend and I just broke up. I put all his stuff in the street and called the police and told them he was stalking me. So I can't afford my insurance co-pay because I have to go bail him out of jail after my appointment."
- "I've been shitting water for 3 days and I have terrible gas. And you might want to wash your hands, 'cause I have scabies"
(Actually that last one was helpful information. No harm, no foul to you, good sir)
2) The Ma'am-Are-You-Hoping-To-Lure-Me-To-Your-Boudoir-Via-An-Inappropriately-Excessive-Spattering-Of-Compliments? (usually adopted by middle-aged female former meth addicts and/or the pungently present elderly)
- "You're eyes are hypnotizing... and I LOVE your eye make-up! Close your eyes. How do you do that? You Are Gorgeous. Look at you. I bet you hear that all the time. I love your hair too. It's so long... blah di blah di blah di blah...
These are just a few examples of... ya know, just a lot of information I could have gone my whole life without hearing. I'm prepared to lobby for some sort of worldwide frontal lobe information sharing filter. I haven't quite worked out the logistics, but I'm thinking a surgically implanted "invisible fence" type device that distributes an electric shock throughout the body at the inception of the Over~Share impulse.
I think it would make the socially awkward and generally apathetic folk, such as myself, much more comfortable.