Have you casually asked your colleague about their holiday, and now you’re stuck listening to a long monologue about everything from their kid’s bout with diarrhea to the horrors of getting put in a pool-facing room even though they clearly booked a room with a sea view?
Here are some ways to survive and maybe have a little fun.
There’s no better wait to derail a monologist and entertain yourself than by sustained and excessive interest. When she tries moving on after spending five minutes praising the mojitos at the beach bar, say, “Hang on. This is interesting. Let’s explore this topic in more detail. What did the glass look like? Would you describe the ice as crushed or very crushed?”
Although repeating someone’s words back to them in a goofy voice is considered immature and even rude, under some circumstances, it’s totally justified and can turn misery into merriment. When he says, “And worst of all, the cleaning lady didn’t even change our towels,” you say, in your best Mickey Mouse voice, “Worst of all, the cleaning lady didn’t even change our towels!”
This method is not for everyone as it takes extreme willpower, but if pulled off, it offers enormous satisfaction. While she’s detailing the Covid protocol of some village museum in another country you’ll never visit, suddenly stop blinking. As the seconds turn into minutes, your eyes will turn red and watery, and she’ll begin to feel uncomfortable and panicky even though she might not know why. In a short time, she’ll be running to the bathroom to splash water on her face.
There’s something very obnoxious about hearing other people breathe loudly. Think of Darth Vader’s mechanical exhalations. Think of a cave bear. Think of every kid who lets the snot build up in his nose. Now, partially close your larynx, plug your nose, and let your lips flap with each breath. In an instant, your tyrannical locutor will interrupt himself and say he’s got to get back to work.
Lean back and place a two-euro coin over each eye. “What are you doing?” she’ll ask. Tell her it’s an ancient treatment for conjunctivitis. Reach into your pocket or purse and remove some pocket lint. Stuff this into your ears. Sleep until she finishes her story or it’s time to go home, whichever comes first.