True Story©… Disarmament
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you asked someone the most random of non-sequitur in the middle of an otherwise normal conversation? After a lifetime of “sit down and shut up,” I now find myself in position where no one can tell me that shit no matter HOW wild what I say or ask might so happen to be. Matter of fact, it usually comes in handy to end a conversation I don’t particularly care to be participating in.
I tend to exercise
so early in the morning that the only other people I encounter are also exercising
or walking a dog. A head nod or a quick “morning” is good enough to keep it
moving on my journey with the other exercisers.
For the dog people, I will actually speak to them so as to be able to
talk to the dog without things getting weirder than they need to be, but the
conversation is always with the puppy and never with the human.
Outside of early morning roadwork workouts, I tend to be the one in my house assigned to do the “going out” most of the time and I don’t know if it is because of that time that EVERYONE in my house except for me had Covid, if it is because I am task driven and tend not to dawdle in a store, because I work from home or if I am being tricked into paying for stuff. Whatever…
I have found that
throwing someone off balance with one of my above-described off-color queries
tends to make someone uncomfortable enough to ease out of the conversation
themselves without me having to do it.
One such occurrence was Saturday before last. I got up and went to get my hair cut, came home and changed clothes before heading out to cut a yard before my customer would be up and about on a Saturday morning. On the way home, I stopped to grab a couple of things and ducked into a grocery store. On my way THROUGH the store on the way back to the meat department to grab some chicken wings, I was approached by someone I had not seen since the couple of years after high school and had specifically avoided interacting with on social media. My shirt was soaked and I still had on my lawn working shoes, as I did not intend to be seen or engaged by anyone who would attempt to converse with me.
Of course, however, my best laid plans always tend to go to shit in spite of all of the sense that goes into my making them so here I am in a small talk I wanted nothing to do with.
Classmate: “Whassup man? How you doin’? I ain’t seen you in a minute.”
Me: “I’m good, out here trying to stay warm.”
Classmate: “I hear that, what’re you up to these days?”
Me: “I work an IT-like position at my full time and I do this on the side for a few people.”
Classmate: “I’d have never had you pegged for yard work.”
Me: “Mmhmm… Yeah, just grabbing a quick something before I get back to the house and lock in for the rest of the day.”
I hoped that this
would be the cue to wrap this shit up and let this sweaty man (me) grab his
things out of this here store and get home to a much-needed shower.
Classmate: “What’s up with your brother, I used to see him around all the time, but never you.”
Me: “He works at the buttcrack of dawn, so like only certain people see him out and about nowadays.”
Classmate: “He still in Greensboro?”
[Phlip note: DAMN, READ THE FUCKING ROOM!!!]
Me: “Right around the corner, actually.”
Classmate: “Ahh, okay…”
Look, I am tired, I been up since 5:40am, I have done an hour of intense physical labor and I am ready to go home and shit and shower. I kind of glanced around and items in my immediate vicinity and struck.
Me: “Hey, you ever consider that there can be no such thing as vegan animal crackers?”
Me: “Vegan animal crackers! Animal products are verboten to vegans, right?”
Classmate: “Well yeah, but animal crackers are basically just cookies and cookies can be made for vegan--…”
Me: “Nope, it is right there in the name, ‘ANIMAL’ crackers. It shouldn’t matter what they’re made from, they are an animal product and therefore not vegan-friendly.”
Classmate: “Wow… We’ll, I’mma get the rest of my stuff and get on up outta here.”
Me: “Aight, you be easy.”
Classmate: “You too man.”
And with that, the uncomfortable exchange of nothingness was brought to a close without me having to be rude. Eventually, this individual will come to accept the animal crackers question as my attempting to be funny or silly. Either way, it fuckin worked.
I have found this
actually works on social media as well.
Just this Sunday, while doomscrolling, I happened upon the normal
arguments between people who were moreso arguing to be right than to gain
anything from the opposing side. If
anyone has ever seen one of these on The
BookFace, they have seen these 100+ comment threads of people lobbing thinly-veiled
insults at one another with no one actually doing what it may take to END the
hostilities. Since I had time, I read
through the comment thread hoping to see something at least entertaining in the
drama. Earlier comments in it delivered,
but it eventually turned to combatants repeating themselves in slightly
different wording. It was decidedly less
fun than it had began, so I figured I should be the martyr to end it on behalf
of other people who might come across it on THEIR timeline.
My comment? “Have y’all ever seen a metal spork anywhere? And now that I mention that, how come they call it a ‘spork’ and not a ‘fpoon’?” From that comment forward, the argument stopped being about the argument and became a discussion about spork vs fpoon. I never actually faced or gave a reason for the question because I don’t fuckin’ have to. Instead, I challenged that everyone questioning it was trying to pronounce ‘fpoon’ now and no longer angry at whatever they were angry about before.
[Phlip note: you’re trying to pronounce ‘fpoon’ RIGHT now, aren’t you?]
After only ten
minutes of this, the conversation was dead and therefore allowed to fall down
the timeline since the algorithm had no more reason to give a shit about it.
I texted the original poster – who, by the way, was NOT the one arguing – offline and in private “you’re welcome” and she responded with a laughing emoji.
Perhaps more of us should try it… We could at least make the world a better place through laughter than dragging people who really don’t desire to be in public into smalltalk, or allowing a friend’s timeline to be shitted up with an endless argument.
Try it next time you’re bored!