So, I’m in line for Potbelly’s the other day. Great Sandwiches. Next time you’re in Chicago, check it out. Anyway, in the loop, there’s always a long line, even though there’s a Potbelly on every corner. To speed up the process, they ask you your order way before you get to the counter. (the sandwich does have to go through a toaster, after all) They ask me what I want, I shout my order. That’s how it works.
They ask the woman behind me what she wants, she says she’s not ready. Then, she says, to no one in particular “I’m not going to yell my order.”
I never know what to do in these kinds of situations. Is she talking to me? Is she talking to the guy behind her? Was that meant for the cashier? I have no idea. She’s just throwing dialogue out there, hoping it will stick to something.
I chose to ignore it, and act as rubber to the floating dialogue (monologue, really). If I would have agreed with her, perhaps I would have given an awkward sympathy laugh, or an acknowledging head nod. But, it’s potbelly downtown. You yell your order so you don’t have to wait as long. That’s how it is. Don’t try to drag me into your monologue when I don’t agree with you.
She looks at the menu. “Do they have any salads?”
Now, there’s no way she thought I was listening. I gave her no indication I wanted to be part of this. I don’t know what to think of these lone talkers.
Situation 2. On the train to the airport. Some dude gets on, it’s 5:00 on a Friday, the train is super crowded. Dude squeezes his way to the back of the train where we are, gets settled, says “It must be that we’re all tired from work, huh?” A bunch of blank stares, a few people look around “Is he talking to me? Is it my responsibility to bounce some dialogue back to him?” My answer: only if you agree with them, and the point they’re making isn’t completely obvious. He might as well have said “I’m a dude on a train.”
Lone talkers, at least make an interesting point. Then you can get an obligatory smile, nod, or, if you’re really lucky, a little dialogue.