Secret Pop

Apr 27, 2003

Amuse Yourself

I've realized something. I'm fine with standing in line and just standing there and saying nothing. You know how when you're in a long line -- say in the ladies' room or the bank or the crowded entrance of your local Costco? How certain people just can't seem to stand there and be quiet? They have to strike up a conversation with anyone -- nay, everyone -- nearby. They are discomforted by the simple fact of silence. They have to take note of how hot it is in here. Or how nice the new paint job is. They have to tell you they like your hair or mention that they have a pair of shoes JUST like the ones you're wearing.

I'm not like that. I can just stand there. For hours if necessary. I have no desire to meet anyone in line. I don't feel awkward when I avert my eyes as a new person steps up. I don't mind fixing my gaze on some innocuous subject in the mirror or on a wall somewhere. I have been known to smile politely -- perhaps even to add a polite affirmation or nod of agreement -- and then turn away. I am not a loner. But I find no solace in the buzzing chatter of queue banter. I do not consider "It's really hot in here" to be a promising preamble to worthy repartee.

I am not wholly opposed to the prospect of meeting someone interesting while waiting in line. But it has a sort of non-elective quality to it. You're not talking to me because I seem interesting. You're just talking to me because I'm here and I can hear you. You might even be thinking, "Hey, we're going to be stuck here for a while. Might as well make the best of it, right?" But that's not what I'm thinking. I'm thinking that this empty space of passive imprisonment is an opportunity for me to have a few thoughts of my own without the easy excuse of the distractions that consume my time when I'm given the freedom to indulge them. That I might catch up on the continuing debate I periodically resume in my head between me and assorted other people with whom I do not concur. That I might come up with a spot of poetry or think about what I want for lunch. I wonder if this makes me a sociopath.

But how can it, after all? Aren't I doing you a favor? I'm not ignoring you because I dislike you or think I'm better than you. I'm sparing you the awkward necessity of filling a silence which might otherwise be perceived to be the soundtrack of a rude moment. I'm on your side. You don't really want to talk to me. If you did, you'd probably already know my name.

"The only thing I ever got from you"

What a task it is to keep hidden the secret of what really goes on inside one's head. The naked eye sees many things in the surgical light of day. But some discoveries are for the lab-drippings-covered pages of the surgeon's notebook. Some revelations manage to say their peace in one attempt, requiring no further restatement or reiteration. Documentation works like expulsion for some substances. Whereas discussion gets its teeth in you. Intravenous tubing and fine-gauge puncturing implements. You won't feel a thing. But it gets in. And you will never be the same.

I have a habit of turning metaphor into sloppy, tangential nonsense. No one knows what I'm talking about. Which proves it's safe to say it.

They were playing Tenacious D the last time I was at Liquid Kitty. I noted it to myself but never made it a topic of conversation.

Why do I even have a television? Honestly.

With your long blonde hair and your eyes of blue...

I don't always wear ponytails.

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