Wednesday, September 6, 2006


“So I told her, I told her, you can’t tell anyone anything about themselves that they don’t already know. I said to her, I asked her, why should he believe you if you call him up with all this garbage about how he’s irresponsible, about how he’s a jerk, about how he could be a better man?” Leon pushes his glasses further up onto his nose before continuing. “If he doesn’t believe these things, if he doesn’t see these things in himself, and, in fact, sees the exact opposite, then her breath is going to be going to waste. That’s what I told her.”

I want to tell him to stop. I want to tell him just to stop talking, to take a break, to have a few gulps of that beer instead of sloshing it around all over the table. Goddamn hand talkers. Goddamn beer wasters. Goddamn time stealers.

“So, I’m telling her all of this, and she’s just telling me all of this other stuff about how he thinks he’s this and he thinks he’s that, and I tell her—”

The bartender catches my eye, clocking my agony, really recognising my annoyance, and shoots me a smirk. He knows. Leon and I have been coming here for years, financing the place with our debauchery, and he knows all about Leon’s wanton verbosity. Makes me wish we were at our usual spots, hunched over the bar, side by side, bullshitting - least then I’d have the bartender to save me from this torrent of talk. But he had to talk to me about something, he said. Something private.

“He’s not going to believe it, you know? I told her that flat-out. If a man doesn’t see in himself the flaw that another is pointing out, then why should he believe it?”

I offer up a little shrug and a bit of a smile while dabbing at my temples with the corner of a napkin. I run my hand through my hair. Take a sip of my beer.

“I said to her, you’re going to point this out, expecting him to see it, too, and he’s just going to think you’re being a bitch. He doesn’t think he’s irresponsible, he doesn’t think—”

He doesn’t think – and that’s the problem. Leon doesn’t think of himself as a long-winded bore, so there’s no need to tell him that he is one. His theory is correct, but his delivery is a little lacking in pizzazz. Lacks that zing. That zest. That dynamism. Too many words to express a single thought. I listen, and as I do so, a smile creeps. Here’s Leon, before me, proving his own theory through his own actions.

“—wasting her breath,” he says.

And I desperately want to waste my breath, too. I want to tell him he’s an egotistical bore, a real drip. I want to throw the word soporific out there. I want to tell him he’s grating. I want to, but I won’t. After all, you can’t tell anyone anything about themselves that they don’t already know.

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