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Ever hear somebody telling a really long story? You know, the kind that drags on and on for several minutes longer than the actual content would suggest is possible. Have you ever noticed that, right as they are finally getting to the end, they add: “And another thing,” before spewing more nonsense? I mean, you are already almost hating the sound of their voice as well as their deviated septum when, just like that, “and another thing” puts an end to any hope you had of getting away.

Somehow “and another thing” leads to another couple of minutes, which then leads to hours of more talking and often a word for word re-telling of the entire story in every painful detail!

For the sake of politeness you, once again, try feigning interest while your mind is wandering here and there. After all, you were raised to be polite, right?

Anyway, a couple of well placed, “Aha’s”, “Oh’s” and “You’re kidding’s,” really come in handy and make it seem as if you are somehow remotely interested in what this person wants to—not “has to”—say!

Oftentimes, the storyteller is so wrapped up in their own story (and relatively minor glory) that they don’t seem to notice the glazed over look that you know has to be in your eyes.

Do you ever wonder if these individuals—you know, the ones you run from when you see their profiles on the horizon—even know how annoying they truly are? You have to wonder, are they having fun at your expense? Can they not see the emotions you are trying to suppress? Are they ignoring your obvious discomfort or do they not care? Or, worse still, are they really THAT oblivious?

We may never know.

What I do know is there are more than a few of them walking around in my general circle (i.e. place of employment, at the family reunion, etc.). Somehow, they seem to make a bee-line to me.

Who am I kidding?

I’m a freaking magnet for all things crazy, annoying, stinking and needy. People see me and immediately decide that I am the one to bother, sit next to on the train, question about the intricacies of life or solicit monies from, as if there is a tattoo or neon sign on my forehead inviting all matter of nonsense to come my way.

With the invention of answering services, caller ID, etc., I have been able to control the flow of foolishness that comes from many of my annoying family members and former friends. However, handling the annoying public is another animal altogether. Nowadays, you must navigate this hazardous land carefully to keep from being shot, stabbed or worse, talked to death!

Can anybody hear me?