One Sided Conversations

Have you ever spoken to someone who is so interested in themselves that you don’t need to be there for the conversation to continue?

I told someone the other day that my 22 year old nephew had died following a terrible crash. He looked at me for a moment, nodded his head, and then asked if he should wear the blue shirt or the red. I thought the blue was striking. He thought the red would look better and proceeded to tell me about his bunions. I listened patiently until he started to explain the shaving procedure he uses to keep those pesky growths in check.

“Um,” I interrupted, “I just wanted to let you know I’ll be gone a couple days to the funeral.”

He stopped unlacing his shoe and looked up at me with a blank expression. “Who’s funeral?”

So I told him again. My nephew. Car Crash. Died. Tragic.

“Oh, that’s reminds me…I need to change the oil in my car. Last time I used Quaker State but I prefer Valvoline. But ya’ gotta buy what’s on sale! Don’t ya?” Nudge, nudge.

I know people have different ways of dealing with death. Perhaps his way is avoidance. So I tried another topic. “They say cars are a big part of Global Warming…”

At this point, he is re-tying his shoes. “Speaking of Global Warming, I need to get a new thermometer for my back yard. I like to know the temperature when I’m sitting on the deck. Boy my deck needs a new finish. I put on a sealant last year but it didn’t do a thing. It’s always best to buy the better brand or you pay for it in the long run. Did I tell you that I’m running the marathon this year. I’ve been working on building my distance since March but I’m not completely sure I’m ready to start the race. Did you see that Obama has secret security now because he’s black? What do you think? Should my next car be red or black? I like the Mazda but with these gas prices I could really use something like a Prius. I hear they get nearly 50 miles per gallon. Did I tell you I’m throwing a 50th birthday party for my wife next month. I think it will just be casual cook out in the back yard. I’ve asked everyone to bring their gifts in an old bag – kind of a joke, eh? Man, I saw this guy the other day on U-Tube telling jokes. He was funny. Not as funny as my uncle was before he lost his leg in that freak hunting accident…”

That was the last thing I heard him say as I walked away. I think he’s still talking.


  1. Curt,You have such great material for a character there. That’s the thing about fiction writing. Reality almost always has better characters and richer stories. Or maybe I’m just a bad writer.Snare

  2. Sadly, I’ve met this guy before. Perhaps not the same guy, but I’ve met him. Scott Peck would use Erick Fromme’s phrase “malignant narcissim to describe this behavior. He would also use it as an operational defintion of evil. I think Dr. Peck is on to somethingJeff Smith

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