I’ve heard people complain about some people who talk on their cell phone in the presence of other people. Did you get that? I’m asking because there were a lot of people in that sentence. People complained, some talked, and still others were simply in the presence of those who talked…on a cell phone. Truth be told, this story isn’t about talking on a cell phone. It’s about the act of talking in the presence of people to whom you are not talking.
My husband and I were at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony a few weeks ago. We arrived early and not surprisingly, chose seats away from the crowd. As we waited for someone to flip the switch to turn on 100,000 tiny white lights, people started coming into our territory. At first, it was fine. They picked their seats and chattered quietly as they sipped really hot hot chocolate that was topped with tiny marshmallows. It was festive and peaceful.
Then things changed from fine to wasn’t fine. A couple of people came and sat right next to us and guess what? They were talkers. Actually, they weren’t just talkers, they were takeover talkers…and they cackled. All the quiet chatter ceased because nobody could hear quiet chatter while the talkover was in progress. It was worse than listening to someone talking on a cell phone in the presence of people to whom they are not talking because we could hear both sides of the conversation and two cackles. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, two of their friends showed up. That’s when things went from wasn’t fine to really wasn’t fine. We heard about how the lights would look when they finally turn them on, where they all had recently traveled, and that one of them spilled a box of wine on her crotch-her words, not mine-on her way to the lighting ceremony and that her fake leather pants-my words, not hers-were all wet. Let’s face it, no amount of very hot hot chocolate was gonna make that feel better on a cold wintry night. The wine could explain some of the talking except that she spilled it rather than drank it. Just how do you spill wine from a box on yourself? Doesn’t the box have a spout that you turn on to fill your glass and turn off to stop filling? And what was the spout doing down there anyway?
Let’s just say at that point, things were no longer festive and peaceful. Everyone in our area who came to quietly enjoy the tree lighting wanted it to be over so that the takeover talking would stop and they could spend the rest of the evening trying to unhear what they’d heard. Well, at least I did. Truth be told, you can’t unhear things you’ve heard-it’s impossible. You just have to live with it. And there was a lot to live with simply because of the act of talking in the presence of people to whom you are not talking. Cackle-cackle.