Thursday, July 2, 2009

How to get out of a boring conversation!

I keep getting cornered by people (some of whom I'm related to) who think that their long-winded monologues are of interest to me; and because I was raised to be polite (and also because I'm basically cowardly), I've never quite mastered the art of politely and tactfully conveying the message: "Could you please stop, because I have something more interesting I need to do, like working, or pounding sand down a rathole."

But just now in the coffee break room, I found myself in that situation, and tried something that actually worked: I waited till there was a lull in the monologue, and started in on my OWN monologue.

The perpetrator in question was describing an episode of "CSI" (I forget which city) he'd recently seen involving a woman who ate a seed which made everything taste sweet, and naturally that meant she ate a cup of arsenic and died a horrible death.

Now I wouldn't have minded that brief description, but he was going into excruciating detail, like describing every moment of the episode from beginning to end, including commercials.

So when he got to the second commercial break, I jumped in with a long-winded description of a similar situation in the movie "Suspicion", starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine, which was based on a far superior book by Francis Iles called "Before the Fact".

I described how the protagonist, Lila, had met a mystery writer who revealed to her that she knew of a substance which everyone had in their kitchens which was instantly poisonous and completely undetectable to medical examiners, and then described how that information was used, both in the book and in the movie.

By the time I got to the point of describing how the producers of the movie had gotten cold feet and refused to allow Cary Grant to actually go through with committing murder, as opposed to the book version, my companion had discreetly gulped down his coffee (still hot and presumably quite sweet), wished me a happy holiday weekend, and beat a hasty retreat.

I'm going to try this on some of my relatives this weekend. If it works, I'll let you know. Hmm - maybe I'll write a self-help book about it! Keep your eyes on Amazon - nyuk nyuk!