Thursday, September 08, 2005

Fingers in My Ears

Lord have mercy.

It is my misfortune that I am too polite to tell people to shut up. Most of the time, anyway. Usually I can "uh-huh" at appropriate intervals, while my mind wanders far away from the conversation. But sometimes I just want to scream.

There is a lady of my acquaintance who knows full well that I read the newspaper and watch the morning news. Be that as it may, if there is a murder or tragedy in the news, she feels compelled to review the details with me as if I am incapable of "getting it" without her help. Usually the worst, most gruesome details. I've already mentioned in this blog that I don't care to know the gruesome details. I have perfected a method of scanning to get the gist of things without wallowing in the blood and gore. It helps me sleep at night. So I really resent being forcefed that information.

Yeah, I know. It's her way of processing the information for her own understanding. That doesn't make it any easier for me. I learned a long time ago that it is too easy for me to mentally put myself in someone's shoes. And from there develops a depression that hangs over me like a cloud for weeks at a time. So I try my best to maintain a mental distance to keep myself from sliding down into that black hole.

I've faced this barrage of unwanted details many times at work. Some people just have to replay and replay tragic stories. At this point, I seldom mingle at break or lunch times for that reason. It gets me a reputation for being stand-offish, but it's the best way for me. Some exorcise their feelings with these recitations, but folks like me internalize all those feelings of despair and then end up with irritable bowel syndrome.

Too bad there's no innoculation to protect you against these folks. Even with my pathologic fear of needles, I would be at the front of the line. I sympathize with the victims and with the feelings of horror that compel people to dissect the stories with their friends. But I'll gather my own information, thank you, so I can avoid walking through the valley of the shadow of another's death.

Add to my Christmas list a pair of earplugs.


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