For that matter, I prefer quiet to noise. As much as I enjoy some high-quality '80's hair band rock and roll, Eddie Van Halen can wear me out with his guitar playing. So, for me, people + noise = hatred.
This post was prompted by a trip to the car repair place to get our super-duper minivan a little more super and/or duper. The garage at least offers the service of taking you where you need to go while your car is being worked and they even pick you up when it's done. Nice! Not so nice was the old guy who blathered on and on about stupid stuff in his life as he took me into work. He covered about 22 topics in the seven minutes we were in the car together, including but not limited to:
his upcoming rotator cuff surgery
his previous rotator cuff surgery
the pain associated with his rotator cuff surgery
his wife's hip and knee replacements
his sister's 60th high school reunion
his nephew's career at GM
his vacation to Florida
During his prattling, I felt obligated to see "oh", "OK" and "Really?" because I'm such a nice guy. He also didn't have the A/C on and I was getting all clammy in the car. You're here to provide a service, Gramps, just get on with it. I'm more than happy to stare straight ahead while you chauffeur me around. Feel free to NOT talk to me.
And how about those long elevator rides with a total stranger? Those are the worst! You go in, you press your button and you proceed to watch the little numbers light up as you go up the building. Of course, you're not just going from the 3rd floor to the 6th floor. You gotta go all the way up to 52! Do I say something? What would I say? "Hot enough for ya?" "How 'bout them Tigers?" "Have you seen that fat guy in Accounting?" It would take an exploding thing of some kind to get me to make idle chit-chat with the other person (that's assuming it isn't a babe who is totally hot for me). Excruciating! If my little elevator buddy wants to talk to me, I might just hear him/her out, but chances are that he/she will just bug me.
I'm happy to report that I work in a two-story building so the dreaded elevator stand-off doesn't happen too often. Unfortunately, said building has a couple of long hallways and the chances of walking down one of them while someone else is walking toward you are pretty good. Damn that architect! So, let me paint a picture for you: I'm walking down the hall headed to a meeting or some other useless activity and pretty soon here comes another lackey doing the same thing. If I'm lucky, I'll have a piece of paper in my hand that I can (pretend to) be looking at, thus avoiding eye/voice contact with the other lackey. If that's the case, I can just kind of glance up as we are passing and mutter a "hey" and keep moving. If I'm really lucky, I will be on the phone and maybe just do the quick, upward head motion that is universally accepted as acknowledging the other person's existence and that's about it.
However, in the event that I don't have any papers in my hand and there is no real use for the phone, I am forced into a stare-down with the on-coming lackey. Do I stare straight ahead? Do I look at everything EXCEPT the person coming towards me? What if it's a babe? How do I check her out without being too obvious? Invariably, we get about 6 feet apart (the exact distance doesn't matter, both parties will know when it's time) and we both do the muttered "hey", making only the briefest eye contact. Oy, vey! I've had root canals that are less painful!
So, here's the deal. Unless you're a babe who is trying to get me in the sack (What?! It could happen!), please leave me alone. If you must say something to me, please just say that it's OK for me NOT to say anything to you - because I really don't want to, I just feel obligated to.