Saturday, May 8, 2010

House Rules

1. There is always someone in any group of six or more persons whose voice will set you on an edge only such a voice could invent. You first become aware of the voice the way you become aware of a marauding mosquito or a drunk who comes home singing in the early morning hours. From the moment you hear that voice until, at last, you have heard the last of it, you funnel enormous amounts of energy into the two tasks of trying to ignore it and trying not to lose your temper.


2. If the speaker is a she, chances are good that she will--regardless of her age--be attractive to you, thus reminding you of the ironic need to compromise or set your standards to a few degrees less attractive, or to revise entirely your definition of attractive, or the even more severe need to see deeper than surface attractiveness.

3. If the annoying speaker is a he, chances are high that he will remind you of someone you either dislike now or have disliked considerably in the past but have managed to forget until this moment. You will be reminded of this person either because of his bullying nature or his unabashed excellence in his every undertaking.

4. If the annoying speaker, regardless of gender, is in any way unattractive to you, it will take less energy to ignore in spite of the fact that the irritating speaker, male or female, will appear to persistently return the conversation to some medical condition he or she is locked in combat with, or to have a simplistic solution for some pernicious social issue which he or she broadcasts with the frequent explicative, "I can't see why they don't just--"

5. If you are a writer, the annoying speaker will cause you to wonder about the extent that your own work may project a narrative voice that affects readers with the same irritation you are now experiencing as you try not to listen to the voice, as it prattles on.

6. Later in the day, when the annoying speaker has long since passed from your conscious memory, you will be involved in a conversation somewhere, realizing you have used a phrase or locution favored by your annoying speaker. One of the persons with whom you are in conversation will look closely at you. "Is there something wrong?" you will be asked.

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