I’d like to think that this happens to everybody.
Not that I’m wishing bad on you all but I’d hate to think it was just me.
Someone meets you in the street or visits your work place. A work colleague or someone you vaguely know. Not a close friend but you know them well enough to make polite conversation. So you make polite conversation. Talk about this and that. Do your damndest to be entertaining and witty ‘cos, you know, every situation is a selling opportunity, isn’t it?
And they’re listening, this colleague, this person you vaguely know. And they’re participating. Colluding. You’re having a dialogue. And they’ve asked you something – doesn’t matter what: how are the kids, how’s your latest writing project – and you begin to answer because, like, they’ve asked a question that requires a response. You're 40 years old and you’ve got the hang of this conversation thing by now.
And mid answer their eyes sweep away and fasten onto somebody else – possibly the person they had actually come to see when they met you quite by chance going about your business.
And then it happens. The rudeness. The ignorance. The disrespect.
As your voice peters out mid sentence, the words shattering like glass against a wall that nobody else knows exists, this colleague immediately and enthusiastically launches into a brand new conversation with the newcomer. Their words literally railroading yours into silent oblivion. All their attention is on the newcomer. You may as well not be there. So you don’t want to hear about my kids then, or my new novel?
And you shuffle your feet. And you get on with what you were originally doing. And – and this is what really riles me afterwards – you kind of hang around, kind of wait to be dismissed because you don’t want to appear rude by sidling off without saying goodbye to this person.
Like this person deserves a goodbye!
And after it’s all over you feel deflated, worthless and ashamed. Is it something about me? Something I do or say or don’t do or say?
Is it just me?