One of the things people say about me is that I'm quiet. Sometimes this is a criticism, other times not. I've already explained that part of the reason for this is because I find small talk difficult. Well, not just difficult, I find it pointless. If there's something worth discussing, I'm quite capable of amputating the hindquarters of a member of Equus africanus asinus with my garrulousness.

Some people just can't help themselves though. As Douglas Adams once said "if they don't keep exercising their lips, their brains start working". I usually come across them whilst I'm out and about, on public transport or in shops. You can hardly call it eavesdropping; to avoid overhearing these types you really have to be listening to Napalm Death on your iPod.

Its incredible just how much you can overhear without picking up any genuine content. It's all filler, conversational fluff designed to prevent the other person getting a word in edgeways and to prevent the speaker having to contemplate the horror of their existence.

"So I was like... so she was like... then I was like... then he was like..."

Why are you talking in similes? Never mind what it was like, what actually happened? But even worse than the simile operator is the second-hand revolutionary conversation.

"So I turned round and said... so he turned round and said... then I turned round and said... and she turned round and said..."

I can understand when this expression is used in isolation to indicate a sudden volte face, but when an entire exchange consists of these changes of mind... well you have to suspect it's padding. Either that or these people exist in a continuous state of epiphany.

I suspect it's the former. But if so, what does this say about these people's states of mind? If it's true that you are what you speak, that our consciousness is built up of the stories we tell ourselves and the universe about us, then a lot of the time these inveterate wafflers must have heads full of fluff, and in some senses could hardly be considered conscious at all.

Perhaps they suffer from a condition whereby if they stop speaking they stop being aware, so their motormouths are in fact their conscious minds' desperate survival mechanism as they struggle to stay afloat in a sea of oblivion.

"If they don't keep exercising their lips, their minds disappear..."

Or maybe they just don't want to be left alone with their thoughts. Even alone they're addicted, you can always spot them, the people for whom hands-free was invented. Deep in so-called conversation wherever they might find themselves, walking down the street, on the bus, throughout an entire train journey (tunnels permitting). How did they survive before the advent of mobile communications?

Then again seeing as I'm so quiet, how can I possibly be considered as conscious either? Luckily my internal dialogue comes to the rescue, the tale I've been telling myself for as long as I can remember. I'm talking to myself.

So I turned round and said...

3 comments

  1. Sulci Collective  

    My favourite is the statement bellowed into the blebbering bleb that is a mobile: "I'm ona bus in'it?' usually followed by said Wildean getting off at the next stop to go meet their confabulator in Lizzie Duke's at Argos. I used to work at Ladbroke Grove, near the All Saints Road fabled drug trafficking street in the 80's. It always amused me in those relatively early days of mobiles, when pagers were also ubiquitous, to hazard which of my fellow passengers on said communication devices were drug dealers. How impressive an entrepreneurial guise to roll up to business on a number 31... No conversation held while on a bus is that important. Since it's going to take you forever to get to any destination.

  2. Sulci Collective  

    I meant to add, that is Neil Razor Ruddock modelling the gnashers right?

  3. Chris  

    No just a royalty free stock photo of some bloke...

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