Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Supa Sister Rant: Damn those Conversation Loops!

They can happen to even the best raconteur; those pesky little pitfalls of communication I like to call conversation loops. Be it unwitting victim or accidental perpetrator, if you’ve been caught up in one, you already know - it’s nothing nice. Yes, even I have been taken down a time or two by these sinister potholes of seemingly casual conversation. Lately, though, I don’t become ensnarled in these lingual labyrinths as much as I once did; owing this to years of delicate research in determining the exact and precise moment of when to just shut the hell up.

So, what exactly is a conversation loop?

A conversation loop occurs when Speaker#1 is unable to advance to the next topic of desired conversation due to the actions of Speaker#2, who has chosen to comment on the comment Speaker#1 just commented on, which in turn prods Speaker#1 to reapply a similar response to the discussion already in progress, thus resulting in a conversation loop.

Sound confusing? In theory alone. Trust me, conversation loops happen pretty much on the regular. Just the other day, I bore witness to one while standing in line at the store. It was quite comical, though I didn’t think so at the time because, well, I had to pee.

Went like this:

Subject#1: “Good to see you, Leon. How you doin’ today?”

Subject#2: “Said my blessings before I walked out the door, praise the Lord.”

Subject#1: “I heard that! Praise the Lord.”

Subject#2: “Umm hmm. The Lord is good, isn’t He?”

Subject#1: “Yes He is. Praise Him…”

Subject#2: “Yessss, Praise you, Lord.”

Subject#1: “Yes. Praise Him…”

Subject#2: “Praise the Lord!”

Subject#1: “Praise Him…”

Subject#2: “The Lord, He is praised!”


Pesky conversation looping occurs when (a) you’re conversating with an idiot, (b) someone is conversating with you and you’re the idiot, or simply (c) both parties become trapped revolving door style in harmless, useless, repetitive dialogue, and merely fail to identify the proper way to get out.

It’s sad, true, and can be - some pretty funny shit.

Even more, along my sanity-reducing, rollercoaster ride on the track of motherhood, I have since become convinced that the origin of conversation loops are deeply rooted (and cultivated) within the context of age old sibling-rivalry. Children are masters of the conversation loop. I am constantly, regrettably, privy to the various styles, techniques, and levels of sheer annoyance in which a conversation loop can occur. Here is the last loop I overheard by my lovely spawn, whom I adore, who also aggravate me to no unspeakable end, which is sometimes very difficult to reconcile but what the hell the law says I have to feed them anyway:

LovelyButAnnoying Child#1: “Leave me alone.”

LovelyButAnnoying Child #2: “No, you leave me alone.”

LovelyButAnnoying Child #1: “Well you started it.”

LovelyButAnnoying Child #2: “No, you started it.”

LovelyButAnnoying Child #1: “Did not.”

LovelyButAnnoying Child #2: “Did too. I’m telling!”

LovelyButAnnoying Child #1: “You did start it. Tattletail!”

LovelyButAnnoying Child#2: “I’m not a tattletail!”

LovelyButAnnoying Child#1: “Are so.”

LovelyButAnnoying Child #2: “So what, so?”

LovelyButAnnoying Child #1 : “So, just leave me alone.”

LovelyButAnnoying Child#2: “I’m not bothering you.”

LovelyButAnnoying Child #1: “You are bothering me.”

LovelyButAnnoying Child #2: “You bother me more.”

LovelyButAnnoying Child #1: “No you.”

LovelyButAnnoying Child#2: “You.”

LovelyButAnnoying Child #1: “Leave me alone.”

LovelyButAnnoying Child #2: “No, you leave me alone….”

LovelyButAnnoying Child#1 and #2: (in unison) “Mom!”

AnnoyedMom: (thinking) Dammit I’m out of vodka again.


Once identified, the key to breaking the conversation loop cycle is a virtual no-brainer; the safeguards being fairly simple and painless to execute. They are: (a) never reiterate a reiteration, (b) never answer a question with a question, and last of all, my preferred method, (c) Just shut the hell up.

The last potentially crippling conversation loop I successfully evaded went down like this, after I tripped over some idiot’s foot at the movies:

Bigfoot: “You all right?”

Me: “Yeah, thanks. I’m cool.”

Bigfoot: “You cool?”

Me: “I’m cool. Thanks”

Bigfoot: “You sure?”

Me: “Yeah, I’m sure. Thanks.”

Bigfoot: “You sure you’re sure?”

ME: Shutting the hell up.



Now you try…


Cosa Chula said...

How about
"bless you"
"thank you"
"you're welcome"
"no problem"
*sigh* Here we go again

~Kesh said...

LOL...or how about

bless you
you're welcome
thanks for welcoming me
you're welcome