Open Letters to People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond
Send your nonfictional open letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Open Letter to Self-Interrupters.
BY Chris G.
You don’t know who you are, but I do. I’m the one listening, giving you my undivided attention while you prattle on about how your boss can joke around with you but sometimes he jokes about how lazy you are, which might actually be true and what if he…
AND THEN YOU ARE ON YOUR PHONE LAUGHING AT JARED’S TEXT MESSAGE.
You have just self-interrupted, and it makes me feel like shit. Because I was listening.
And so you know, it’s hard to be a good listener. It’s a choice. I was not just nodding over here. I was for real listening.
I was NOT glancing at those girls.
I was NOT staring at your breasts.
I was—for once—NOT planning the plot of my first novel.
What I WAS doing: I was actually absorbing your life and getting prepared to respond in a way that shows you I listen. “Oh, hostess Trisha sat your section with that old shitty-tipping hag who demands THE CORNER BOOTH? And then she smirked at you? No way. That bitch. She did that to you last week, too, didn’t she? Yeah. I hope she dies of exploding diarrhea. Can you even die of that? Ha-ha! We should look it up so we can bond over ways people can die! Cause we’re friends like that.
Feels good, right? Feels good to have someone listen and understand and get really pissed off about your shitty day, doesn’t it? Yeah, I know. It does.
But you just self-interrupted.
And now I’m pissed because I don’t get paid to listen. I’m not Ira Glass over here. I don’t have to treat you like a special person, dwell on your spiritual condition and then mull it over with some light piano ballad cut over the sound of spoons hitting coffee cups in a thoughtful café. I’m just your friend, and I think you should care more that I am listening to you.
Oh—wait. What’s that? You’re off Facebook now? Your Twitter is finally settling down? Oh, how nice for you! Now I get to wait while you try to figure out where you were in your story! Hurray! I love when you say, “Now, where was I?”
“HAHA! I don’t care! Just start from the beginning! I looovved the beginning.” I clap and dance because we get to do it all over again.
That was sarcasm. In a non-sarcasm world, I’m gone. Or I’m giving you a look. And you best recognize. Because I’m not putting up with your self-interrupting anymore. I will happily lend you a sweatshirt or my bike, or even my penis. In fact, please, take my penis. But my ears? My listening energy? The thoughtful consideration of your daily waitressing complaints? That shit’s too valuable.
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