I don't know when it started but I've recently noticed when I'm talking to someone they don't ask me one question, not one. I don't even want to talk about me but for God's sake I'm sitting in front of them aren't they embarrassed that they're taking up all the airtime? I exist, I am not just a mirror to reflect them back to themselves nor part of some sound-check. I find I'm suddenly cast in the role of 'interviewer' filling in the blank spaces when they're done with their answer and expecting the next question. Do I look like I'm interested in the fact their kid can't figure out what he wants to do for a living at age eight or that the builders put the sink in upside down?
I want to hold up a sign that says, "Gaza Strip, you idiot, get real." When did everyone lose his or her curiosity? I count how many times they use the word 'me' and if it's ten out of ten, I delete them from my contacts list. The only time I don't mind a monologue is either when someone's being hilarious or when someone needs to talk about something deeply problematic even if I never met them before. I got in a random taxi a few days ago and the driver asked me to sign a book. I thought it was his. It turned out to be my book (I'd never seen it without the jacket). He then tells me it's good I got in his cab (like that was planned) because he always wanted to talk to me. For the next hour he unloaded how he felt, his mind in a thick fog accompanied by screaming abusive voices in his head and what did I think was wrong with him? He then got lost and was driving in circles (luckily he turned off the meter). I asked him if he's was on medication, he told me he wanted to try and get better without them. I said that he had severe depression, it's not his imagination he is really ill with something he can't wilfully snap out of. His attitude to drugs was like finding out he has cancer and he's passing on the chemo. Now, I call that a great conversation; it was real and had a point. I hope I helped, I know I woke him up from his delusion.
On the other end of the spectrum, I had a dinner party last week where I invited a few famous people I knew from when I did my interview shows. Many of them suffer from something I call 'movie star disease.' They live in their own time zone so when invited to dinner at seven they either come in at eleven with no apology or not at all. When they do finally arrive it's expected that non-famous people shut up mid sentence to give full attention and look enthralled. On the hierarchy of famous (though I worked in television and may be considered famous by some) I am protoplasm. In these relationships it's implicit that I am the interviewer and I know that's the deal so no surprises. I'm ashamed to admit that probably like other 'non-fames' when faced with an A-lister, I slightly go into that nervous, heart pumping arousal, turning myself inside out to amuse. I'm sure it's a throw back to when I was a looser in High School and when the Prom Queen deemed to look at me I'd start metaphorically tap dancing until exhausted to get her approval, I never did. One of the great pleasures in my life is now knowing that the Prom Queen is ensconced in re-hab. I think I'm happier with taxi drivers.