We were at an event with about a dozen people around a table. I didn’t know anyone and that’s good. There are two groups of strangers who meet me, the ones who, after a polite introduction, leave me the fuck alone and the other who try to pry things out of me.
Guess which group I prefer?
Sometimes it’s just little things, such as my opinion about what’s happening in the conversation. Okay, that’s not bad. Expected really.
Then there are those who don’t think I’m being honest or forthcoming or whatever the fuck it is. My opinions on most subjects can be summed up in two words: Like or not like.
This evening had been going pretty well. By that I mean I was being roundly ignored. I wasn’t being rude, when people would look at me I’d look back smiling and nodding, but I wasn’t involved in many of the conversations.
That’s how I roll, bitches. Ask friends. We’ll be out, people will be talking and I’ll be looking at the TV screen, sometimes just staring off into nothingness. I’m listening, sort of, in case I’m needed to quell a situation but I’m not in the conversation.
The men are talking random things. Most of them seem to know one another. The women are talking random things. Most of them seem to know one another.
I’m watching the game, nod every few minutes to prove I’m alive, and all is fine with me.
Except for a loud woman. There’s always a loud person, isn’t there? Someone who needs all attention pointed towards her or him.
I don’t like these people as a general rule. They think their opinion is the only correct one. They think every one of their stories is a lyrical gem. And if you dare disagree or not be enthralled they turn up the volume and beat you with a verbal truncheon.
“What do you think?” Loud woman snaps at me. I look at her and smile.
Let me stop here for a moment to go into public service mode. If you see a person sitting quietly, allowing you unfettered enjoyment of your life, please, leave them alone. They’re probably not speaking for a very good reason.
They may be someone like me.
“Well,” I say to the woman. “I think what you’re saying may have some validity but I think it’s too broad a generalization.”
She’d been holding court on how shitty, lazy, shiftless, ignorant, inconsiderate, pay no attention louts men are.
The thing that got my attention was the puissance behind each of her statements and the intense pleasure she got at berating three or four of the guys. I’m sure if she had something on me I would have been included which is why she was testing the waters.
I hope she can swim.
“Oh,” she says. Her eyes bouncing as if another stupid male fly has buzzed close to her web. “So we have a male defender here.”
“Don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends are guys and many of them deserve a dope slap at twelve, twenty-four, thirty-six, forty-eight, and smack at the top of each hour every day. But, there are more good ones. It’s not as if you’re blazing new trails here. There isn’t a guy in this room who hasn’t been called an asshole by a loved one. But to put every guy into your bashing bake sale is short sighted and idiotic.”
I knew she wasn’t listening to what I had to say. It was a dissenting opinion and she is incapable of hearing those. But, I knew she’d pop at the word idiotic.
“Who are you calling an idiot? I’ll have you know I’m. . .”
“. . .you should listen. I didn’t call you an idiot nor do I need your resume or pedigree.”
Which we all know I was about to get.
I bet we’re also aware of the glare I was getting from her. I’m sure most of you can also see that I was totally alone out here. None of the men would look at me. The woman were stock-still.
Just the way I like it.
“Let’s take the powers of observation.”
“Oh, good, make it easy on me.”
Oooooooo! I so love when they’re cocky.
“Do you think I’ve been paying attention?”
“Of course not.” She scoffs. “You’ve been sitting there watching the stupid game on TV. You haven’t even entered one conversation. What did I say? Inconsiderate.”
“Point taken. Let’s try something.” I pause and seem as if I’m in deep thought. “When I’m right on something I’d appreciate it if the person would raise their hand.” I watch some of the women nod slightly. “I can tell someone is wearing a new perfume. It’s quite similar to their old one but, because it’s new to their skin, it has much more potent air about it. It’s a very good scent for her.”
A woman slowly raises her hand. Before anyone (okay, the loud woman) can utter a sound I trudge on.
“Someone is having foot or ankle trouble. Someone was limping slightly but I knew it wasn’t due to injury so I have to assume it’s caused by new or tight shoes.”
Again, a woman raises her hand.
“This doesn’t prove anything.” The loud woman professes.
“Did anyone else see those things? Man or woman?”
No one says anything.
“It proves that woman often pay as little attention as men.”
She begins to say something but I cut her off.
“I have one more observation.”
She rolls her eyes.
“Remember, if it’s you, please raise your hand.” I pause and look directly into loud woman’s eyes. “Someone here is having her period.”
No one moves. I see lips quiver and a couple of guys almost pass out.
“Hey! I’ve been right so far. Come on!” Nothing. “Okay, I’ll have to out you.” I pause. Scan a few faces. Stop on loud woman. “It’s you.”
She is appalled and, again, before she can get a word out.
“Come on? What other explanation can there be for you being such a fucking bitch?”
In the immortal words of Was (Not Was) at the end of their classic song, “The Party Broke Up,”
“Needless to say, the party broke up.”
I bet you’re wondering how I pulled it off. You’re right, I didn’t notice a thing. A byproduct of sitting quietly is you hear things.
One guy was bitching about spending a bazillion dollars on some new perfume. Another said his wife whined all the way there about her new shoes killing her feet.
I also knew, to make the con work, I had to use redirection. Hence the perfume compliment (what woman wouldn’t respond to that?) and inexactness in the painful foot/ankle and new/tight shoes. A little less perfection let’s you slip past.
What? The loud woman? Oh, I just assumed she was on the rag.