Monday, November 20, 2006

Verbosity (and a tangent about childhood fears)

I find very little drives me to the brink of insanity faster than someone who speaks a lot but says nothing.

I used to a have an Introduction to Computers professor who did this. It wasn’t just that he had a lot of filler words, such as “um” and “okay”. It was the downright circular nature of his thought processes and his absolute lack of direction and focus. It’s like he just started to speak without giving any thought to how he was going to finish the thought. And consequently, no clear thought emerged.

Now imagine paying thousands of dollars in tuition and being forced to sit and listen to this man for hours on end. One ceases to try to decipher the key ideas. One ceases to even try to follow the leaps from topic to topic and the interjections of clauses within clauses with imaginary parentheses and coma after coma after coma. It’s not just confusing. It’s not just baffling. It’s downright infuriating.

The best one can do, similar to being on a stand-up roller coaster, is close one’s eyes and pray to god it will be over soon.

It reminds me of a thing my friend Hilary admitted to me a long time ago. We were talking about strange unfounded childhood beliefs.

I told her that I used to believe there were robbers hiding behind my dresser. I was really scared of robbers. I was sure they would come out at night when my parents were asleep and that I would be the person unfortunate enough to encounter them in a midnight stand-off. So I devised a plan. I decided that I would convince the robbers that I was actually a robber too. And I was simply POSING as an innocent child to earn the trust of the family living here. Then I planned to rob them when they least expected it. However, this meant that this house was my turf and so, Mr. Robber, you will have to keep moving and find another house. It was brilliant. And it helped me sleep at night.

Hilary had a fear too. She confided that, when she was much younger, she had somehow come to the conclusion that she would only be able to say a word for every blade of grass she ever passed by. She constantly worried that one day, she would use them all up and be struck dumb! And without the ability to speak, she would somehow have to convince her parents that they needed to go out for a walk or car ride, anything so she could pass by more blades of grass and suddenly be granted the ability to speak again.

Perhaps I need to invest in a weed-wacker.

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