The reason I went to the staff house yesterday evening was because we were helping out at a disco for the students, which was held at a nightclub in the city centre. Afterwards, we went back to the house again and had a few beers.
I made a unseemly discovery about a colleague of mine. I’ve always talked to him before when his girlfriend is around, and he seemed like a nice guy. That evening, after she went to bed, I sat around the table with him and two other guys, and as the conversation went on I realised that he would not stop talking.
It wasn’t like he was one of those people who dominate the conversation. He was the conversation. There are always a few tell-tale signs that someone loves the sound of their own voice so much that they will let nothing come between one word and another – the frequent returning to points already made, the needless self-contradiction and switching of topics, talking over other people’s responses, as if “Yes, but…” was all they wanted to say. You stare at his ceaselessly moving mouth, your hands involuntarily clenching as you realise you are bound for the seventh circle of hell. Interrupting will only increase your anger, as he is ignorant of both your desire to talk and the words that you say. The only thing you can do is sit back and tune out (preferably while carrying on drinking). After I’d finished off my last “one last beer”, I made my excuses and left.
From now on, I’m only talking to him when his girlfriend is around. She seems to keep him in check, and what’s more, she’s a good conversationalist.