I was about to get into the whirlpool at the gym when I saw her. The moment she walked into the spa, I could tell she was a talker. She smiled and waved at the regulars. Then, she chatted up the lifeguard on duty. That’s when I knew I was in trouble.
After swimming around in the pool, I like to meditate in a hot tub for a few minutes. I did not want to jibber jabber with anyone. I especially didn’t want to talk to someone new. I want to save my conversational minutes for friends and family. I don’t want to use up my best bits on strangers.
Sometimes, you just want fly under the RADAR. I need a Romulan cloaking device or a cloak of invisibility.
With my big toe sticking in the bubbling water, I had to figure out my plan. Do I leave? Or do I stay and get stuck with Chatty Kathy? I could pull a “It’s too hot” and walk. Once I was immersed in the water, I’d be stuck.
I’d never run away from a fight. But I will run away from a talker.
I’m not a fan of chitchat. I don’t want to talk about the weather unless its killed someone.
When I lived in Los Angeles, I used to go to Chinatown to get a haircut. There were two excellent reasons. One, it was $5. Two, no one talked to me there. They asked me how I wanted it cut and then they spoke Cantonese to one another the rest of the time. No one asked me what I was doing for the weekend. No one asked me what I did for work. I was happy there.
But I digress, like I do. There’s this thing polite people do when they don’t want to engage in a conversation. They answer the questions, but they do not elaborate.
I decided to Magic 8 Ball her. I’d keep my answers to “yes,” “no,” “maybe” and “ask again later.” I had to be friendly, but not too friendly. It’s a fine line. I want to be a mellow fellow and not a rude dude.
One wrong move and you’re learning the names of someone’s cats.
Suddenly, it’s, “I was born in a small farm in East Ohio …” And I get the full life story.
She asked, “Do you live nearby?”
“Yes.” I answered.
If I wanted to converse, I’d say, “Yes, about two miles from here. That-a-way.”
I’d even point.
It was like being interviewed for a job I didn’t want.
After a few polite yes or no answers, the person USUALLY gets the hint and disengages. Every now and again, you meet a person who can’t pick up a social clue without a basket and a butterfly net.
If you haven’t guessed, I got the full interrogation. I got grilled – and boiled since I overstayed my time limit in the hot tub.
I’m going to have to go to a different gym.
Mike Buzzelli’s email address is email@example.com.