It’s a weird part of my life. People tell me things. Not friends or family members, they probably know enough not to say anything important or private to me. I’m talking random people I encounter. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been standing there saying to myself, “I can think of no good reason I should know this about that person.” But, sadly, it’s more often, “Whoa! I should not know that.”
I have to assume they’re willing to spew this to anyone and it’s just my turn. It can’t be because I’m so friendly and outgoing. If I’m giving the choice between a stimulating conversation with you or being left alone, unless you’re paying me, I’m going to choose left alone.
It can’t be because I offer an air of inclusiveness. I have friends who think twice before starting conversations with me. I like to assume its out of respect for my privacy. But, most likely, they’re afraid I’m going to say something to ruin their day or psyche.
So what chance does a stranger have of feeling the love from me? Especially after, from the moment I’ve turned my head to them, I’ve been looking at them like a turd on a cats ass. Sure, I know I’m going to have to take care of it, but I’m not happy about it so it’s probably going to be painful for one of us.
That’s why I assume it’s just my turn (or bad luck to be in this general area) when someone starts giving me their life story. Or at least the disgusting part they want to unleash at this time. This guy’s story was not very different from any hard luck story you hear.
Waa waa waa. My family turned on me (because I fucked them all over).
Waa waa waa. My friends don’t stand by me (because I’ve stolen from all of them).
Waa3. I can’t find a good job (because I’m so pilled up I can never remember the address).
So, yeah, the world has it out for him. Don’t get me wrong, I can and have had sympathy. I haven’t had the easiest life but each time I’ve been knocked on my ass I get up and figure out another way to get through. It’s taught me empathy. But when the story is so generic I can recite the ending a few minutes into the spiel, I get a little antsy.
And antsy ain’t a good thing for me.
My mind starts to wander. First to homicide. I begin to think of all the ways I can kill the person in front of me. Quiet ways, noisy ways, stealthy ways, broad ways. But that’s only fun for a while. I mean, how many times can you imagine jamming a heat gun into someone’s mouth to melt their tongue to their teeth before it gets boring?
Then I start to think of answers to their tale of woe. I’m in no way saying these are good or useful answers but they keep me from going to the truck for the heat gun.
After what seemed a semi-lifetime (but was probably five minutes. I find that to be my limit before I say something to bring the conversation to a crescendo) of listening to him whine about wanting to give up, throw in the towel, cash in his chips I’m done.
I find the more metaphors a person uses during a tale of woe the less like he is to go with his final solution. Most times they’re probably rehearsing to make sure the story is perfect for the pill mill doctor or parole officer.
“But, yeah, it’s been a tough road,” he says thinking I’m listening. “I’m thinking about giving up, throwing in the towel, cashing in my chips.” He looks at me for a reaction. He finds none. I know I’m staring blankly because I’m thinking about pizza. I haven’t had one for awhile. Maybe I should see if my girlfriend wants one. But before I can ask her he interrupts me with, “Yeah, well, I’ve been thinking lately about killing myself.”
No time like the present, I always say.
But I can’t say that. I mean, I can, but it’s not what people generally consider polite. I know I’m supposed to say, “Stop with the crazy talk! You’re just having a bad time! Brighter days are near!” Then hum a depression era feel good song. But that’s not what came out. In my pizza addled mind I said,
“Oh, don’t talk like that! You don’t want to give up! Did Kurt Cobain give up? Did Robin Williams give. . .ooops, bad examples.”
I don’t understand why so many people storm away from me angry.