Maybe it's the French philosophy; maybe it's one two many first year essays; whatever it is, I have lost the ol' communication knack bigtime. Time was when I and a coupla mates could pull off a spanking impression of functional dialogue. I'd say something. Trusty interlocutor would say something back. I'd say something else. Someone'd reply. Back and forth, hither and yon, 'twixt and 'tween, it was happening. Meaning. Across a crowded room.
Just lately, though, it's all gone to pieces. Yesterday, for instance, emerging from the gels' loo in the loo corridor at work, I spy a gent I know, going into the boys' loo. "Hello," I say. "Fantastic corridor, this one." There's no denying it's a corridor, although I suppose the "fantastic" call is open to dispute. But he doesn't reply. He looks at me as if I've just suggested we go bludgeon some penguins.
Last night on the bus, I plonk myself down next to a chap reading Gulliver's Travels. "Oh! Swift!" I say to him. "Have you read that essay where he suggests the Irish eat their babies?" He looks at me as if I've just proposed a spot of penguin bludgeoning (there's a recurring theme here). "I don't think he was serious," I add, to clear up any confusion on that front. Mr Chap buries himself in Gulliver's Travels and keeps his knees together.
This morning, I catch two squidgy green folks decimating my oregano. "Well, lookee, lookee, lookee," I say. "If it ain't two hungry caterpillars eating up my balcony. What do you think you're doing here, young persons?" No reply. As cool as cucumbers. Munch, munch, munch.
Any more of this and, inviolable as my ego is, I'm going to start thinking it's me.