photo courtesy of Philadelphia City Paper
One of the most mentally painful states in life is being bored.
One of the most virulent forms of this pain is being on the receiving end of a phonecall where the other person will not stop talking. Now I’m not even saying they’re monopolizing the conversation (even though they are), but rather, they just want to keep it going by any means necessary. Like they’re winning bonus points from some vengeful god for keeping you suspended in a whirlwind of drudge and banality.
And then, at one point you realize, maybe you actually liked this person once. But whatever they have now become is no longer tolerable. You can forget the big-picture. You can even forget tomorrow. Right now. Right now, you need to hear a dial tone, anything to stop the internal sobbing of your thought process.
Just as you start to regain some mental acuity, you hear it: the beginning of another anecdote…”Oh, so did I tell you about the time I…?” NO, for the love of all that is fuzzy and pure and can’t talk back, please, dear God, NO! Not another self-absorbed tale of 10, 15, 20 years, minutes, seconds ago.
“Oh, so, remember that time I opined about absolutely nothing for an indeterminate time span? Watch me do it again!”
(My ears start bleeding)
You try everything. The non-committal ‘yup.’ The extended pausations. The clearing of throat. You give throwaway answers like “Oh, really” or “That’s interesting.” Nothing. Their ability to keep a two-person phone dialogue going seems to be impregnable to both monotone and apathy. Finally, when it seems like the power went out at the end of the tunnel, there is a break.
“How about you?”
Oh sorry, you must have mistaken me for the person who was listening. You’ve got the wrong girl! So you prattle off some nonsense and fundamentally break all your resolutions to be a candid person. They lay on a few compliments (“Oh well, nothing like youuuu though…), and the guilt factor is out of control. You try to start listening. And the crippling omnipresent conclusion surfaces.
Once upon a time you were a different person who talked for hours about these types of things. And it’s just not the same anymore.
“Well, I think I’m going to go to bed soon, hon…”
Salvation. And they said there would be no second coming.