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It’s Good To Talk. Or Is It?

A typical London Taxi.

"I had some girl in the back of here the other day, poked me right in the eye."

A fair few years back, good old British Telecom churned out an ad campaign that told us “it’s good to talk”. This is true of selling phone contracts and it is also true of many wonderful things like spreading gossip, getting a job as a TV presenter and generally maintaining relationships with humanity as a whole. There are, however, such times when anyone who utters a solitary word should be subjected to such horrific acts of violence that would make Reservoir Dogs look like The Teletubbies.

The first of these such occasions would be the early morning commute. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone on this one, in fact, I and several work colleagues have entered into an unwritten (and most definitely unspoken) agreement, that when we happen to suffer the misfortune of finding ourselves on the same train in the morning, we perform a secret society-esque nod of polite mute sagacity before all parties go back to pretending the others don’t exist, until the office doors have closed behind us and we’re contractually obliged to interact.

Attempting to engage me in conversation when my brain hasn’t been taken off autopilot (and before the first Diet Coke of the day) will result in a few unintelligible grunts and, should you persist further, a poke in the eye (I can’t help it, it’s the autopilot). The early morning train is where I stuff my iPod in my ears, my nose in a free newspaper and the world can stuff itself!

Next on my Hit List of Hush is the massage parlour. Those of you who are foolish enough to think of these places as safe havens of peace, clearly haven’t read my earlier article (click here). To top off the horrors that might befall you in your prone and naked state, is the chatty beauty therapist.

While I’m trying to drift away from the knowledge that her hand is just two inches from my most delicate of delicates, I’d rather we both just let the tinny whale song fill the air and that the lady with the oily hands reserve her inquisition on social affairs for her chums in the bar later that evening. When someone is prodding and pummelling me into a state of utter muscular bliss, I will, yet again, only be able to utter the most guttural of sounds and these will in no way have been an answer to her pointless queries into my personal life.

It’s rather hard to poke someone in the eye when your head is wedged in the hole of a massage table but the will is there and she’d better hope she doesn’t get the same morning train as I do.

Almost as bad as the tube journey to work is the cab journey home from the airport. After a 10 hour flight next to a screaming toddler, the last thing I want to do is to enter into an interrogation about my week working abroad. I’m aware the driver is only being polite but I look like Tom Hanks in Castaway, complete with beard. There’s your clue.

Conversely, I don’t want to know if you’ve been busy today and I don’t want to know what time your shift finishes (the obligatory questions we feel compelled to ask on entering a taxi). I also don’t particularly want to know who you had in the back of your cab yesterday, unless your only reason for telling me is because it was a millionaire who dropped their diamond collection and couldn’t find the last Β£20,000-worth. If that is the case, I shall offer you a monosyllabic grunt, roll onto the floor face down with my tweezers and we’ll say no more about it.

I’m going to refer back, if I may, to my most delicate of delicates for the next scenario where chat is most definitely unwelcome. Having assumed the least graceful of undignified positions, with a doctor looking intently at a place most definitely not on most maps, the last thing I want to do is acknowledge said doctor.

The following is not only horrific, it’s also true. I was in the afore mentioned necessary position when the doctor, hands full, so to speak, decided to break out the small talk and asked where I worked, which was a pizza restaurant back in those days. Upon hearing this, my doctor then delighted in telling me they loved that particular place and asked if I would slip them a few extra toppings upon their next visit!!!

Listen chum, you perform your duty, which is to get in and out as quickly as possible and I’ll do mine, which is to lie back, stare at the ceiling, think of unicorns and floral arrangements and try not to trump. Neither of our jobs requires narration, interrogation or pizza negotiation. (I would threaten a poke in the eye here but I think we know who has the upper hand when it comes to sensitive anatomical areas and poking).

The last of my golden silence situations is the hairdresser. These Kings and Queens of the coiff are trained to grill you for all your travel plans (inane questions to be repeated by the junior who washes your hair), your relationship failings (inane questions to be repeated by the junior who sweeps the floor) and your deepest inner feelings towards the X-Factor contestants (inane questions to be repeated by the receptionist as you pay). The whole thing leaves me with a very twitchy eye-poking finger.

I have, through trial and error, found the holy grail of bouff-wranglers. I enter the salon, I’m greeted, offered a beverage (wine please), asked what services I would like (make me look younger and hotter) and then I’m left to concentrate on my trashy magazine while she concentrates on knocking off 2 inches and 10 years. When I leave, I’m none the wiser of her holiday in Tenerife, she is no nearer learning that I don’t watch the X-Factor. For this, I leave her an extra large tip and I forego any eye poking.

I guess BT are right, it really is good to talk – to your friends, to your family… and to tell your hairdresser, gynaecologists, cab driver, masseuse and fellow train passengers to shut up!

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249 responses »

  1. I absolutely agree with your “non-talking” sentiments. I am not a morning person, nor do I claim to be so….the caveman grunts of the morning will exist until 1 cup of coffee or a Mountain Dew have been had. Funny how that seems universal!

    πŸ™‚

    Reply
  2. You left out sitting in a bathroom stall, and the dentist. Why anyone would ask me questions while their hairy fingers are lodged in my jaws is beyond me.

    Reply
    • I’m brewing up to a whole lavatorial etiquette blog post so thought it best to leave that one but yes, no chat while bums are on loo seats, please.

      Good call on the dentist. Why do they do that?! Did their mothers not teach them that people shouldn’t talk with their mouths full?

      Reply
      • Good call on the dentist, was there yesterday with my mouth forced open and covered in a rubber dam, impossible to speak yet he and his assistant tried conversing with me which included if I was ok with them playing a christmas CD in the background, there was no way I could object, the sadists!

        Glad to see you’re freshly pressed.

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    • I love the tone of your writing! Very familiar + A Light Sense of humour! Please follow my blog and leave comments, I’m new to WordPress and would like some feedback.
      xxx Indie

      Reply
  3. (I would threaten a poke in the eye here but I think we know who has the upper hand when it comes to sensitive anatomical areas and poking). <–I burst out laughing at this…at work. Caused a few head swivels bahaha. Wonderful post! I shall have to remember the eye poking technique! Sounds much more effective than "The Glare". =)

    Reply
    • I find ‘The Glare’ doesn’t work behind the 8am sunglasses or while staring at the ceiling, praying to the god of flatulence. You can’t really mistake the sentiment behind a well aimed finger though.

      Thanks for stopping by to read and I guess thanks to your boss too for paying you while you do it!

      Reply
  4. The only thing worse than avoiding chatting on the bus/tube/taxi/massage table etc is having to hear OTHERS chatting – usually at abnormally high volume! Rants into mobile phones are particularly irritating. I just cannot seem to concentrate on my reading on my travels when some ignoramus is intent on dissecting some low-rent drama of their lives to another pleb in some other part of the world: Probably pissing off people in that locale too…Misery abounds.

    Reply
    • Dear James,

      I simply refer to my earliest post – The Joy of MP3. I would never wish anyone to have to suffer the trials and trivialities of other people’s witterings in public, that’s simply barbaric!

      Clearly MY witterings are ok because a) they are mine and b) they are written… Maybe I should start a podcast!

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      • Podcast? Hmm. That’s an idea! It’d be interesting hearing your voice on the way to and from work! And if your diction is any where near as good as your writing, then witter away!

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  5. So true. So true. Ditto the cab journey chats. Good writing. Looking forward to reading more

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    • Thanks for dropping by for a peek. I actually had a cab journey just last night where there no diamonds dropped so I had to question why I was being asked for coherent conversation at 04:00. They never learn, do they?

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      • I would like to write some comment… Silent world would be boring. Taxi driver has no time to blogg at work time as you do… Those who can’t write just talk. Imagine to sit 8 hrs in silence. You can get crazy. I like to talk with taxidrivers and other people. It means to care. They never learn… But did you?

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  6. You can’t break the silence because once you do you’re expected to always chat them up. I made that mistake recently…wouldn’t recommend it.

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  7. HAHA I threaten to poke people in the eye all the time! Not for talking, because I talk too much, but just in general πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • An excellent way to live your life. Keep em on their toes!

      Just remember, if they’re wearing glasses, substitute the eye poke for an ear flick. That way you run less risk of breaking a nail on their milk bottle goggles.

      Reply
  8. The art of conversation is disappearing, isn’t it? Nice topic to explore, young woman.

    Reply
    • The art of conversation is alive and well and being held captive in the pub, round the water cooler and on the telephone when nothing is on television, where it belongs!

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  9. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

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    • You really do have a finger on the pulse. It was this message that alerted me to the fact. This message, therefore, is my favourite ever.

      Don’t get jealous, everyone else, it’s not personal, it’s like many things in life, a matter of timing.

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  10. Great summary! Agreed on all accounts, especially during a massage when I just want to disappear. Blah, blah, blah…be quiet!!! Thanks for sharing! And congrats!

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    • Thanks!

      I’m in the process of designing a finger-poking device that can be operated while lying face down and scantily clad.

      Massage parlours shall be reclaimed!!!

      Reply
  11. My husband and I love silent breakfasts, sipping something hot and life-renewing while we read the morning paper.

    BUT we once had a house guest who charged into the kitchen full of energy and chatter, taking no notice of our demeanors, and ranting on about ???who knows or cares???

    Please be quiet! But YOU..can go on and on because it’s a pleasure reading your blog!

    Ronnie

    Reply
    • Thank you for permission to speak although I hope you appreciate the fact I restrict my wittering to the written form where you can zone out and still look politely interested.

      Morning chitter-chatter is just rude. I hope you poked them in the eye and sent them back to the guest room to think about what they had done?!

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  12. kitkatlikereflexes

    Another one: waiters that always manage to stop by and ask how you’re doing RIGHT when you’ve taken a huge bite of your cheesebuger (steak, chicken fingers, caesar salad…). πŸ˜›
    Congrats!

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  13. Congrats on making ‘Freshly pressed’ today! The only way is up! :o)

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  14. There was a time that Hubbie and I shared a car – not usually a problem but there were times I had to drive him to work if I needed the car for the day. And he has to be at work by 4AM (the poor sap). Worse is that he wanted to talk – at 3:45 AM. About what I’ll be doing for the day. Shut UP! That’s at least 2 hours before the sun even decides to show its lazy face (depending on the time of year). I too wanted to stick a finger in his eye (or both). So I’m right there with ‘ya.

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  15. While I agree with you I have to admit that I am a bit of a nervous talker. I might find myself chatting with the hair dresser trying to distract myself from the business at hand. I would never speak with my masseuse but have admittedly spoken with my doctor because she was quite witty and fantastic but in such a case…timing is everything. Perhaps I will take up some deep breathing. Lovely and funny post.

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    • Thanks for dropping in for a nervous chat. I think I should take someone like you with me when I have these appointments. You can keep them entertained with chatter and I can get on with ignoring the world!

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  16. Fincastle Mom

    Top on my list of places that I don’t want to enter into a conversation – in the dentist’s chair. I love the hygienist, but I really can’t discuss my vacation plans or how well the kids are doing in school with her hands in my mouth!

    Reply
    • I think shows how seldom I go to the dentist (naughty me) as I totally missed it off the list but yes, how on earth are we to give a fully articulate and well formed response when we have a fist full of rubber-clad digits crammed in our gobs! We can’t even nod for fear of that little scrapey hook going through a gum.

      Reply
  17. Thanks for sharing you very interesting views on things. Oh, to be so young. Connie
    http://7thandvine.wordpress.com/

    Reply
  18. Oh, how I loved this post!
    Just today I was at the dentists. I do not like going to the dentist. (Strange, that, n’est-ce pas?) I had a new hygienist. Very nice woman. Probably good hygienist. My first name is Anne. In twenty minutes she used that familiar form of address (I would have preferred Mrs Whitaker, twice max) thirty nine times. I could not scream since she was scraping my mouth for eighteen minutes of the twenty.
    Thank you for your retrospective empathy. Shall we talk now?Or leave it till the first light of dawn, pre-coffee?

    Reply
    • We’re ok to talk now as it’s 21:00 in the UK which means I’ve had my standard 5 Diet Cokes. Caffeine deficiency is not going to be a problem, but thank you for checking Mrs Whitaker.

      So, you had to encounter inane chatter AND poor manners. Your fingers must be very tired from all the eye poking you had to mete out. Well, she has to learn, right?

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      • Unfortunately it’s now past my bedtime and I am incapable of any form of speech, but nevertheless pleased to tell you in writing that your site is now a link on my blog!

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  19. I was about to leave a comment, but my eye hurts…

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  20. Congratulations! I knew you were top-shelf.

    *side note: I’m actually drinking a Martini right now so, here’s to you! Cheers! πŸ˜›

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    • We two are truly awesome and it’s not just us that thinks it for a change ! πŸ˜‰

      I have the flu so I’m celebrating with a can of Diet Coke. It’s not quite the same without the risk of falling over and vomitting but I raise my can to you anyway, good sir.

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  21. Lovely post. I particularly cherish the phrase ‘pizza negotiations’ and am working on the odd conversaitional scenario where I may give it an airing (tho it will undoubtedly be followed by credit to its source – sorry no pun intended). However, we had better never stand in a queue next to each other as I am a major sinner in the chatting to anyone department.

    Reply
    • I don’t mind a queue chat, in fact, I seem to recall a very interesting conversation with a stranger about potatoes… no, actually scratch that. I’m sticking to my iPod.

      Make sure you use those pizza negotiations sparingly. They’re very powerful.

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  22. OracularSpectacular

    I am a talker, to be sure. I’d like to think that I shut up when I get the hint, but posts like this make me paranoid! Almost all of the time I will speak to the taxi driver/masseuse etc…. but if I don’t want to I try my best to make it clear without being rude.

    Reply
    • I’m sure you know when it’s not a good time to talk. Generally, if I put my iPod in and start reading a book, that’s the cue to find another ear to bend.

      I think taxi drivers need people like you to keep them sane with antisocial grumps like me around.

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  23. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

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  24. my kids were always afraid of me in the morning and if anyone even turns on ANY kind of noise they might want to cover both of their pokable eyes

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  25. The next time “Tom” tries to chat me up in the elevator, I’m gonna find out his email so I can link him to this post. It’s either that, or eventually I’ll find out if my iPhone can withstand the blunt trauma of the human head.

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  26. Well Ms PFPT, all Freshly Pressed. I am so happy I started following you recently. You are a joy to read. Re the post: I am chatty and outgoing WHEN I want to be. In the beauty salon or getting a mani/pedi, please just leave me alone and let me wallow in celeb rags. Out in the world, I pick and choose. If anyone challenges me, I will refer them to you.

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    • Look at you, getting in there before the crowd! πŸ™‚

      I’m with you. No one could accuse me of being less than chatty BUT, there is a time and a place. And there are poked eyes to prove it.

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  27. This speaks to me on so many levels (excuse the pun)! For me there’s nothing worse than someone attempting to engage in conversation when I am in the middle of a good book. You’d think they could see the intent in my eyes and the pages just inches from my face, and yet they still try to pry their way in with verbal crowbars. It takes a lot of restraint not to snap it closed on their head.

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    • This is a really good argument for hardbacks to stay in publication. They make better weapons for smiting those who insist on waffling while you clearly don’t want any human interaction.

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  28. makeminea99

    Seems to me that you are all a bunch of grumpy twats!!! πŸ˜€

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  29. It is good to talk… especially if we are talking things out as part of a healing process… but not talking the ears off of others when it is clearly, socially indicated that it is neither wanted nor necessary. Sadly, too many don’t get the polite social cues and a curse word is the only thing to snap them to. Too many words are wasted and not enough said about things that really matter in the world is my own personal opinion on chatter. Also why I will not invoke chat on any social program or MSN, they sometimes turn it on unbeknownst to me and I feel trapped – make a quick escape. Email and telephone is enough… if you really have something important to tell me, that is. Computer chatter (she says as she blogs on your blog, sorry) πŸ™‚ is akin to the social niceties that often aren’t so nice at all to endure. That said, say anything you want anytime, love reading your blog and witty take on the world we live in πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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    • Well said.

      I don’t mind social media as a forum for idle chit chat because I can join in when it suits me and then turn off when people start sapping my IQ.

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  30. Yes! This makes so much sense ! And it’s definitely not rudeness…

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  31. I agree with you on everything but the haircut person, or stylist. I don’t mind if they talk to me. But all the other ones should just shut up other than mild instructions like ‘open a little wider’. Or the dentist.

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  32. There’s a time and place for conversation. I do prefer silence like you in cabs, hairdressers and gynos. Especially gynos! Yes, shut up and do your job and everyone will remain unharmed! The hairdresser has always a place of awkward conversing. I know they don’t care about my life and vice versa. But they feel compelled to strike up some sort of conversation. Ugh, just preen me and be done.
    If I ever ride the bus or train, just mind your own bees wax. I have yet to experience air flight and the horrors that will bring.
    Great post!

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    • I think we should send gynos pre-appointment leaflets, like they send to us, about what to expect on the day. The one I send will just say “warm your hands and shut your trap”.

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  33. yaykisspurr

    I never know what to say in these kinds of situations. Maybe I’m a stick in the mud but I’m not really comfortable sharing all about my life with what is for all intents and purposes a stranger… Eh, maybe it’s because I’m socially awkward instead…

    Thanks for the post, congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

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  34. Great post! Thank you for sharing! I will follow your blog!

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  35. I read once that linguists classify 2/3rds of conversations as gossip. That’s a whole lot of jabber that could be cut out public spaces.

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  36. Loved your post !!! Can’t wait to read more! Can’t agree more on your rules for when to talk either! Whole hearted thumbs UP! Thank you!

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  37. Love it! I’ll be back for more.
    Congrats on being FP’d!!!

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  38. I could’nt agree more, and great job on the article…enjoy the holidays.

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  39. I never realized how much this bothers me until I read this. I work with customers on the telephone and a lot of times I need to get on to the next call and the customer won’t shut the heck up. I’ve had customers blabber for 45 min. and I can’t even get a word in. The barbers and taxi drivers are bad too. When I’m drunk and getting a cab home I don’t want to talk to someone I don’t know the whole time.

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    • Simple answer to the phone dilemma. Just hang up. If they call you back then blame some foreign telecom operating system that cuts you off when you’re talking to one of your favourite… *beeeeeeeeeeep*

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  40. And that is why most of my friends are introverts. At least then I have a better chance of my first word in the morning being… well, when it’s not morning.

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  41. Life's amazing journey

    Love the eye-poking theme!

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  42. Thank heavens I don’t commute any more. But I hear what you’re saying. But I have a little theory on why people don’t want to talk, especially in the commuting stage of the day: they are not happy about where they’re going. In essence, they’re grumpy that they have to go somewhere where they dread going to. That said, they can’t help but not want to talk to anyone.

    Val. PS, it’s 4 o’clock in the morning here in NY and I am up for the day. See how much I’m talking?

    http://valentinedefrancis.blogspot.com/

    Reply
    • I think regardless of the destination, unless I’m all Diet Coke’d up, it’s best to keep the chatter to a minimum and give me about 4 feet of space (enough to avoid eye poking).

      Now, go to bed! πŸ˜‰

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  43. Haha, These people are selling their lists of questions to each other. Have you noticed it yet? I swear… remember those questions you grunted at during the massage and wait… They WILL show up at the hairdresser!

    Great post!

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    • You’re right! They buy a job lot from SmallTalkIsCheap.com.

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    • I was laughing so hard at the doctor one. I actually endured a monologue on all the details of how he makes his own granola bars. Which is like, not only NOT get in get out, but I’m seriously uncomfortable imagining what prompted this particular subject. There can not have been anything good involved.

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  44. Congrats on being Fresh Pressed.
    I’m with you on the Silence is Golden theory. My additions would be the locker room at the gym. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t want to chat about the weather when I’m naked and drying off from the shower. Those gestures do not a lively conversation make.

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    • You’re totally right. Why is there always one woman who is waaaaay too comfortable with her nakedness and insists on getting to know you instead of drying and covering her delicates! We all know her VERY intimately after that sort of encounter.

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  45. First timer here from across the pond. Not only an excellent conclusion, and witty journey of making the point. A tip of the hat to you.

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  46. Hilarious! Totally feel the same way. Favourite finds: post-flight beard and trump hazard. Am a big fan…of your writing, not of the beard or…you know.

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  47. Well, well said all around. Sometimes silence is indeed golden, is it not!? Having just survived the next to last scenario again for the year, I can tell you that it is most definitely not the place to strike up a conversation—food related or not. Funny, funny stuff. I love the way your mind works!

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  48. Before I mercifully learned to drive, I always used to get people talking to me on their morning commute. Normally I didn’t mind too much – I could hide behind a book – but occassionally there’d be the annoying type, like the guy who kept on about how Enoch Powell was just misunderstood.

    Obviously these days always coincided with periods of heavy traffic.

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  49. I thought I was being impolite for not wanting these kinds of conversations. You’ve made the point crystal clear and now I’m convinced that I’m not the only one avoiding these small talks πŸ™‚ Most especially when I’m about to doze off in a spa.

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    • You are most definitely not alone. Take comfort in the fact that you now have express permission to poke your masseuse in the eye should they utter as much as one word.

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  50. Oh honey, I feel your pain. Airplanes are the hardest for me. Even if I’ve got my nose in a book or phones in my ears I must look like someone who wants to chat. One time I got stuck next to a guy in a colorful shirt opened half way down, several circles of gold chains laying on his hairy chest. He regaled me with fascinating stories about being a professional bridge player. No matter what I did he wouldn’t shut up. Wish I’d known about the eye poking thing.

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    • He sounds like a delight! I hope you got his number. πŸ˜‰

      Rest assured you will never have to put up with that again now you know the secret of the eye poke.

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  51. I love this post. I choose my hairdressers according to how little they talk to me – the less, the better. Getting my hair cut is one of the few times I have all to myself these days and I just want to doze, or think…or listen to other peoples’ wonderfully revealing conversations.

    I always felt that my desire not to talk with hairdressers and similar was a fault which I should endeavour to fix. But now I wonder if it isn’t at least partially a cultural thing?

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    • Don’t go changing! When you find that special someone, that special person who can cut your hair and leave you to gaze off into the middle distance, you hang on to them tight and never lose their number!

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  52. Gosh, I love you. I wholeheartedly concur. I have informed my co-workers and students to try to restrain from talking to me before 10 am unless it’s an absolute emergency. Thankfully I’m a librarian so I don’t have to formulate coherent thoughts much before then anyway. People who natter away before my feet even hit the floor, which is a miserable torturous event all on its own, conjure up images of duct tape wrapping itself around the jaw and head of the offender. I have yet to figure out why so many people are determined not to experience silence. As in music, one must have silence in order to understand and appreciate the sound. Grrrrr.

    Reply
    • There’s a time and a place for raucous conversations filled with laughter and joy. Pre-caffeine is not one of them.

      I’d have thought working in a library would keep you safe from inane babble but it sounds like they get you before you’ve even so much as touched a bookshelf.

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  53. Great post! I’ve actually been known to keep my iPod headphones in my ears even though the battery has long been flat – it sends out a valuable message to anyone wishing to make idle chit-chat!

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  54. LOVE this and I must say Amen…idle chatter gets my craw up…especially at 0800 when I would rather be laying in my bed in undisturbed slumber. Morning people so terribly need a poke in the eye or kick in the shin.

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  55. Man I hate to shop, and worse to talk while shopping! The produce aisle is a notorious place for chatters. Then there’s the check out line (fingers twitch). Though being armed with a particularly juicy piece of produce is comforting…a poke in the eye would also do. If we could only do it and not end up arrested for assault…sigh.

    You are hilarious and I LOVED this article! Can relate to each and every scenario.

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    • Thanks ever so much!

      I hate people chatting while I’m in the supermarket queue too. Why do some people feel the need to comment on what you’re buying? What if it wasn’t just bread and milk? What if it was piles cream and Imodium!

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  56. i simply avoid people who chatter too much. I believe silence is gold.

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  57. This article is great! I agree with everything you said. Every morning my parents get angry at them for giving them the cavemen grunt. I also have that tacit agreement of not speaking to people outside of school if im not good friends with them and I see them out and about. Sometimes it is just better not to speak!

    http://eartharoundus.wordpress.com/

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  58. I’m sure I’m going to be the only commenter who admits to being the one asking said questions! I meet many different people every day, and I have such a desire to know more about them. Granted, my job does not (generally) get me near anyone’s delicates, but I suppose these folks still don’t necessarily have a desire to be interviewed! Maybe I’ll back off a bit.

    Reply
    • I say carry on and chat away! There’s nothing wrong with wanting to know more about the people who come across your path, just make sure you’re not just grilling them for details on their holiday destinations and X-Factor favourites. Oh, and if they start to give you monosyllabic grunts, that’s your cue to pipe down.

      If you stick to those rules, you’ll keep both your eyes.

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  59. I very much enjoyed your direct words that so many people don’t have the nerve to say. There is nothing I hate more when getting my hair done than the feeling of obligation I feel to respond with questions about my hairdressers life just because they asked me questions about mine, and I don’t have much to tell them.

    Reply
    • I’m a “see it, say it” kinda girl.

      The way I see it, I’m paying for a service so it’s up to me how I have that service delivered. In these cases, I want it delivered with a gag in it’s mouth.

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  60. No one should talk in the morning… ever. πŸ™‚

    amanda
    http://h1vpos1t1ve.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  61. Couldn’t agree more with this – pointless chatter and small talk seems to be a plague within this day and age, also, great writing loving it so far.

    Reply
    • I have been known, when introduced to someone for the first time, to declare an outright ban on small talk. It either makes for some hilariously insightful conversations or some very short ones.

      Wheat/chaff and all that.

      Reply
  62. somnambicsand

    Nicely put!

    Hairdressers are, in my experience, the worst offenders. And they are armed with scissors, so eye-poking is definitely out. The entire ‘small talk’ situation rapidly becomes worse when I try to be honest..
    Hairdresser: so what do you study?
    Me: er, philosophy
    Hairdresser: oh, that’s interesting! So who is your favourite philosopher?
    Me: uhm, I don’t really have one. Maybe David Hume.
    Hairdresser: so what does he think about, like, the ego and capitalism, and like, you know, how live more organically?
    (and there is really no non-violent response to that)

    Reply
    • Ah yes. It’s like when I was studying Psychology. People would learn of that and the very next thing out of their mouths would be “ok, what am I thinking?”.

      Sometimes they just don’t see the eye poke coming. Sad but true.

      Reply
  63. That was a good one. Silence is absolutely golden in certain situations.

    Reply
  64. Hey Sista,

    I thought I’d let you get over the shock. Congrats. I saw you’d been “Pressed.”

    Must deserved.

    Miss D

    Reply
  65. deanneeanne

    I LOVE not-talking at the hairdresser. I’ve been seeing her for a long time, and she knows I don’t like to talk, so we both (aside from the necessary “Whaddya want me to do with this mess” chat) get half an hour/forty five minutes to thinking about nothing in particular. I’m with you on the other no-talk scenarios too.

    Reply
  66. Clearly I’m not the only one who should have a t-shirt like this in the morning:
    http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel/unisex/generic/a69c/

    Reply
  67. mdprincing

    you are spot on especially with your morning thoughts. A few years back I wrote this, thought you might enjoy

    http://mdprincing.wordpress.com/2009/12/17/grumble-grumble-morning/

    Reply
  68. I’m non compus mentus without several cups of hots strong coffee

    Reply
  69. I think this sort of relates, as it’s about talking: I can’t stand it when I’m on the phone with someone and the person begins talking to somebody else who is also in the room. It drives me nuts! Like can’t you refrain from talking to your boyfriend or whoever until we end the phone call? Just because your friend is physically in the same room with you, you don’t HAVE to talk to him/her. Focus, people! Not really a silent moment, but one where too much talking is not appreciated.

    Great post! Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed!

    Reply
    • Worse – when the person you called passes you over to someone else without asking. Double worse, the person they pass you to is a toddler with nothing to say but heavy breathing. So glad I called…

      Reply
  70. Interesting style of writing. Congrats on getting FPd.
    I don’t mind anybody indulging in some self-talk. I can just pretend to be listening or fall asleep doing that. Wonder how these awful hairdresser-traits are ubiquitous…

    Reply
  71. Here I was thinking I was abnormal, only to discover there’s a half million other curmudgeons just like me. Whadaya know…

    Reply
  72. So very true! The worst part is that THEY themselves don’t get that I don’t want to talk, endlessly talking away, oblivious to the fact that I have tuned them out completely. *sigh*

    Great post! πŸ˜€

    Reply
  73. You really summed it up and I loved it! So TRUE! Congrats on being FP’d! Having read some of your posts, you are really quite hilarious . . .

    Reply
  74. I REALLY couldn’t agree with you more! Fantastic blog post. I’m the same – if I have an early-morning university lecture, my housemates have come to know just not to talk to me. It’s become such a hassle that us Brits are amazing small-talk people.

    Reply
  75. I was amused by your Teletubbies analogy, worried by your train story, and positively cringed at your medical tale (no pun intended).

    So now I’m not sure whether I was glad to read your post, or if I should run away screaming.

    Perhaps I should go and talk to some people on a train, and they can help me decide?

    Red

    Reply
  76. It’s Good To Talk. Or Is It?

    I don’t know, it depends. LOL

    Reply
  77. LOL! Very true I guess…
    If you have time take a look at my new blog!- could use a few followers.
    x

    Reply
  78. I am laughing so much as I read this because I feel the same way. The worst though are those people on airplanes that poke when you are sleeping because they want to talk! Really?! But I must say I love chatting with my hair stylist, she is awesome, and I have met some pretty interesting people and did some networking just by chatting with random people. I guess it is all about time and place. Anyways, loved your post!

    Reply
    • I’m glad you have an awesome hairdresser you like chatting to. If it’s a mutual agreement then chat away! I also love a bit of random networking but not when I’m half naked or suffering jetlag.

      As for being poked on the plane. There’s only one response to that and it ends up with someone being momentarily struck blind.

      Reply
  79. A good post. Yes, it’s good to talk but it’s also good to know when to be quiet. The trouble with human beings is that we don’t do ” silence” very well and so try to fill it with chit chat even if this is rather inane. We have to learn to be comfortable with silence.
    I agree that hairdressers and taxi drivers can be intrusive but then you have to look at it from their point of view as well. They may have been waiting quite a while before getting a customer.

    Reply
    • I see your point but I hold firm. When I look like a serial killer on the run from the sleep police, maybe keep the pleasantries to a minimum and save the chatter for someone who looks like they aren’t being tortured by your every word.

      Reply
  80. Agreed! I am a big massage fan, and I hate talking during. I think we pay enough not to have to talk? Is it really so rude not to reply? I’d rather doze, thank you. I think anyone trying to massage-and-talk is probably slightly too stereotypically British. Maybe next time I’ll pretend I’m foreign and ‘rude’ to be acceptably abstain from the conversation.

    Reply
    • Maybe beauty salons should implement a new check list when you arrive. “Do you have any medical issues? Do you suffer back pain? Do you like gentle or firm pressure? How many words am I allowed to utter?”. Sorted!

      Reply
  81. I enjoyed this post because it reminded me of a comment my son made about going to the dentist. He thought it strange that every time the orthodontist pokes around trying to adjust his braces, he always asks my son about how his day went. My son thinks this is the worst possible time to talk about anything and I agree. Great post πŸ™‚

    Reply
  82. There is the old proverbial phrase, “it is better to remain silent and appear ignorant then to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt”

    Patrick
    portmaninsurance.com

    Reply
  83. Um excuse me but YES!!! This post needs to be printed in a handbook for being alive! Inane speak makes me eye sharp instrument with psycotic longing. The minute they ask me their pointless, peace-brutalizing questions I just see a big neon sign above their brain flashing ‘vacancy’. It’s a fact that all wars can be traced back to conversation saturation….this is a lie by the way.

    Awesome post, you did leave one place out though. The lavotry, it is here that even the most dearest of friends and family must take their vows of silence toward one another. It’s true, you can educate yourself further on this matter here: http://jezzmindah.com/2011/10/28/sanctum/
    (yes that was a blatant referal back to my own blog)

    J xxxo

    Reply
    • Ah, fear not. The lavvy was not left out by sheer chance, I just felt that there is so much to be said around this topic that it deserves it’s very own entry. Keep your eyes peeled…

      (Nice self promo – very slick πŸ˜‰ )

      Reply
  84. dirtyterry

    Aw, you hit it on the head. This is hilarious. Eye Pokes for everyone.

    Reply
  85. Super congrats on the fp! Well deserved my dear.

    Reply
  86. If people don’t want to talk, I don’t understand why they move to a large city with millions of inhabitants.
    I am much happier alone: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/loneliness-doesnt-kill-people-do/

    Reply
    • Ah, don’t be fooled Andreas. A big city can be one of the loneliest places in the world and also, people who talk when it’s inappropriate live in small villages too! They are everywhere!

      I shall have to come by and check out your post when I get a chance. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  87. One half of my Gemini self agrees. WHOLEHEARTEDLY

    The other, is flitting about, talking to the pixies who just blew stardust in the flower garden.

    πŸ˜‰

    Reply
  88. Hahaha amazing choreography of thoughts.

    Reply
    • That’s a beautiful compliment. I feel like my mind is wearing a pair of ballet slippers now. Don’t ask what part of me feels like it’s wearing a tutu…

      Reply
  89. It is said that if you can’t improve on silence, why bother with words?

    Reply
  90. ..even though I agree with you about nonsense chat and the value of silence, I believe in the power of the speech..it all depends on the brain of the tongue holder… right? so… letΒ΄s find a better way to isolation when necessary… do you think it is possible? Great post!!! ty for sharing…

    Reply
  91. You really had a doctor talk about that while doing a pap. Wow. That is all I have to say. I don’t remember ever asking someone questions about their employment while performing a pap smear. Questions related to the exam, yes, employment and other issues should definitely wait until you are fully dressed. Especially whether or not you could slip extra toppings on my pizza.

    Reply
    • I kid you not. It’s only after intense therapy that I can look a pepperoni deep pan in the face again.

      I’m glad to hear you stick to more suitable topics when face to *ahem* face with a patient.

      Reply
  92. I thoroughly enjoyed your post! Wonderful thoughts!

    Reply
  93. As someone who also has to use the Tube everyday I love this and feel exactly the same! Luckily my mum is a hairdresser so I avoid that pitful πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • If you get the tube every day, you’ll LOVE my post titled Underground Fun.

      Lucky you having your mum as a hairdresser. I bet she knows exactly when you want to chat and when you need a few moments peace.

      Reply
  94. That just bummed me out. I like talking to people on trains, taxi drivers etc cos you learn things. I’ve often had towork away on my own and it’s so much better when you talk to a total stranger cos it gives you an insight into the way people think and makes you a better person. That’s what i reckon anyway.

    Reply
    • There’s nothing wrong with being chatty and I’m glad you get something from it. I’ve been known to indulge in a cracking bit of banter with a total stranger (sometimes my iPod battery runs out). My issue is aimed at the way the people I’ve mentioned insist on chatting when I’m giving off signals that I’m no way in the mood for verbal repartee. If I’m clamping my hands over my ears, maybe now isn’t the best time to ask me if I’ve got a holiday booked.

      See? I just chatted to you and it was fun! πŸ™‚

      Reply
      • but you only chatted cos you wanted to πŸ™‚ My point is that the world doesn’t work the way you want it to and sometimes you have to be an adult and deal with situations you don’t like. I think it’s called being polite. I hate it when people are either rude to me or ignore me and therefore i don’t do it to other people. Or at least I try not to.It must be something about London though cos the times i’ve worked there it does seem to be full of miserable bastards πŸ™‚

        Reply
        • I pray to god you aren’t a gynecologist.

          “Answer me dammit woman! I asked you if I could have free pizza!!!” *prod jab prod*

          Reply
        • I think what Pretty Feet has shown very well in her blog – and she’s been ‘freshly pressed’ for it so it must have struck a chord – is that we shouldn’t feel obliged to talk. What’s wrong with silence? She’s not advocating rudeness at all. She’s saying ‘leave me alone…please…while I give my other senses a chance to communicate with the world’. She’s tackled an oft overlooked social ‘convention’ and brought a refreshing spin on it that sadly has been lost on you. Personally, I think she’s a genius! :o)

          Reply
  95. Love your post! Very well written and I would agree on all counts….maybe add in standing in line at the grocery store ?

    Reply
    • Thanks very much. The line at the checkout doesn’t normally bother me unless people decide to start commenting on the items I’m purchasing. If it’s in the basket, let’s pretend you can’t see it and we’ll both get along juuuust fine.

      Reply
  96. luvpeacehappiness

    Enjoyed the post!! let me know when you have the t-shirts ready! : )

    Reply
  97. I so agree. Reminds me of how I’ve always longed for a front door mat that read, “Go Away”. Or am I taking this silence thing too far?

    Reply
  98. I love a fellow truth teller the world needs more of us.Well done

    Reply
  99. Really enjoyed your post. I think I agree with everything you’ve said, but you’ve done it with a bouquet of words that I could never arrange. The only place where I’d possibly disagree is the bantering that goes on in a barber shop, where it seems to be a collection of compliments, expressions of concern, and subtle put-downs that keep one on one’s toes. I plan to visit and see more of your thoughts on future posts. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • “A bouquet of words” – I like that a lot. I might add that after everything I say. E.g.. “We’ve run out of washing detergent and loo roll. You have just been given a bouquet of words.”

      Nice.

      Reply
  100. Grats on FP. Great post, headed over to the minefield of massage now πŸ™‚

    Reply
  101. Funny post! And so true! I would say trying to be friendly on a plane is also frustrating. What happens when you run out of things to say? Talk about awkward silence…

    arbohl.wordpress.com

    Reply
    • I think that’s why all planes should have individual TV screens and complimentry headsets, so everyone on the flight can ignore the awkward silence and pretend it never happened, You just can’t do that with the inflight magazine of duty free products.

      Reply
  102. well done, thanks for sharing

    Reply
  103. I had an article with similar thoughts and nice to see same wave length

    Reply
  104. great post! so true!

    Reply
  105. Yes to all of the above! I am not a morning person and so I only start making sense after 9 am. Do not – I repeat, do not – expect me to have an intelligent conversation before then. As for the beauty therapist… SHUT UP! All I want is tinny chime music and dolphin sounds!

    Reply
    • I think if we heard that music at any other time, it would drive us mad. It’s awful and dull, but when I’m zoning out and headed for relaxationville, it’s the only sound I can tollerate.

      Reply
  106. TheChronicR

    Now do I agree with you. I’ve decided to not speak or answer anything if I’m not asked personally. If I feel like engaging in a conversation is a must and the urge is huge, I will; but if it’s of small importance, I won’t. I find unnecessary to speak just like that. Our speaking organs need a little rest.

    Haha. Great post and blog. Congratulations on getting on Freshly Pressed.

    Take care.

    Reply
  107. I’m glad there are people like you in this world.

    Maybe one day you can take your commentary on society a little further and actually test out that twitchy finger of yours. Well, maybe it would be best to stay away from potential law suits. However, throwing a rock in the pond of normalcy can be quite amusing and rewarding at times. Unexpected responses to expected questions are the best. Once you get past the shame and desire to be accepted by others…

    Reply
  108. confessionsofadumbblonde

    Absolutely brilliant post… definitely brightened my day! I couldn’t agree more about the chatty beauty therapist. Questions on my plans for the weekend are not appreciated mid-bikini wax!

    Reply

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