Death By Close Talker

It started normally enough.
All things do.
We were invited to a “couples” Pampered Chef party.
I don’t normally attend these hosted parties…they’re annoying.
However, since we actually like the friends who were hosting the event, we decided to go.

I was talking with the women about a shady contractor in town…standing conveniently next to the wine bar. My better half was across the room deep in a discussion on oil tanks for your house and the comparison in cost between a 250 gallon, 600 gallon and 1000 gallon tank. (Note: we don’t even have an oil tank for our house so he was talking out his ass.)

Stimulating.

As we continued to talk about the going-ons with this contractor, one of my friends heard the front door open, turned and saw who walked in. As a side note to us she said “Liz is here.” I looked up but didn’t recognize the girl from the back. And for a brief moment my gut rolled as the hesitation lights flickered a “warning…new person” signal.

I thought to myself: Huh, I don’t recognize Liz. I wonder who she is. How does she fit into this group? Interesting. Then I didn’t think about it again until suddenly I could feel Liz’s presence by my side.

I turned to greet this new person Liz and welcome her into our conversation (now currently talking about scuba diving) when I nearly swallow my tongue.

SHIT!

When my friend said “Liz is here” and I didn’t recognize her from the back…that’s why didn’t I comprehend she was sending us a warning:

LIZ IS HERE!!

Oh my god, how could I not have registered that she really meant:
RUN!
SAVE YOURSELVES!
LIZ IS HERE?!
Its’ easy, because Liz has a terrible reputation, so never in my wildest dreams did I think she’d be invited to this gathering.

From here forth, we will call Liz, by my code name for her in social situations: Trudy.

Why?

Because she’s “inTRUsive.”

Literally, I gasp as my tongue flops around in my mouth. I can’t think of what to say besides, “great earrings!” I proceed to exam them for 15 seconds until I can get the color back in my face and my tongue returns to it’s normal position.

It’s funny, when Trudy arrives to a function two things always happen. First, she always, always, always makes a beeline for me. I could be hiding in the curtains, behind a potted plant, in the next room and she’d locate me immediately. DAMN.

Secondly, it doesn’t matter whose group she infiltrates. Half of them somehow peel off, saving themselves, leaving one or two defenseless people caught in her web.

This is what happened to myself and my friend Meg. The conversation went something like this:

Trudy: What are you guys talking about?

Meg: We were just discussing scuba diving.

Trudy: Oh, I love scuba diving.

Self: It’s not big on my list as the water here is too dark.

Trudy: And COLD! You know I almost went scuba diving once a few years ago. (Self: And here we go.) You know it was 2003 and all of the sudden my workers decided to go on strike. I mean really, I couldn’t believe it! They said the working conditions were terrible and I had better fix things or else….(Self: what happens in this situations? I zone out and think about happy things.) blah, blah, blah, AND then I called them into my office…..blah, blah, blah, blah…..our managers were there, ready to jump in….blah, blah, blah…(Self: I ponder how am I going to get out of this?) Well, I tell you what, I fired the ring leader and said to the others they could ship up or ship out….blah, blah, blah…

This went on for about ten minutes and I realized our group had gone from a “v” formation, with me in the pointy part of the “v” to a “–” position as I had moved myself behind Meg, in an attempt to shield myself from being hit by the flailing hands of Trudy.

Not only is Trudy a close talker, in your face kind of person…but she likes to use her hands….and her arms… and bounce around so she bumps into you with her whole body. It’s too much for this single child. Stay outside my “hoola hoop of personal space” and we’ll be okay.

One time, years ago, we were at a social function and Trudy had targeted me and was grilling me on the sale of my car. How much did I get for it, what was I getting next, who bought it? With each question, I kept backing up until I could back up no further. My back was literally against the support beam in the bar. I was truly trapped and couldn’t escape. Luckily, a friend swooped in and grabbed me around the shoulders in a big “OH MY GOD, I HAVEN’T SEEN YOU IN AGES” hug and pulled me out of the quick sand of Trudy’s interrogation.

At some point in our conversation of scuba diving and Trudy’s labor strike ordeal, I was able to save myself, leaving Meg there to fend off the lunatic. Good luck and God speed. It happens to all of us and it was Meg’s turn.

It’s like playing an evil game of Tag.

Later that evening, I had wandered into the dining room to check out the Pampered Chef items and fill out my order form. Nobody was in the area at the time and I was happy to sit by myself for a moment. A few minutes later Meg came in and we were talking about what we were going to order.

For visual references, I was seated at the head of the dining table and Meg was seated to my left. You won’t believe what happened next.

Enter: Trudy

Damn, really? There’s 12 other people here and you’ve already grilled everyone else? The reprieve just wasn’t long enough in my book.

Trudy places herself, standing between Meg and I and immediately starts talking about something. I don’t know if it was the citrus juicer, the mesh strainers or stacking mixing bowls. All I could focus on were her failing arms, which have gotten more exaggerated as she’s been nipping a little too much at the wine bar.

I’ve moved as far away in my seat as possible to avoid being hit in the shoulder and head as she emphasizes whatever point she’s trying to make at the moment. Her upper body extremities are moving so fast and furious that she’s like a windmill on the top of Mt. Everest. Not to mention rocking back and forth on her feet like Mike Tyson in a fight.

I realize, in the sense of self preservation, I have to get out of here or else I’m going to end up with a bloody nose or black eye. I casually get up and grab one of the cookbooks in the middle of the table to look through.

Couldn’t tell you what Trudy was going on about, but a couple other people had joined the room by this point so I felt safe enough to leave Meg, yet again on her own, and head towards the kitchen.

I find the male host, Chuck, and say to him: “Oh my god, she’s driving me crazy.”

Chuck leans into my face and says, “Who? Close Talker?”

We burst out laughing and I lean on the counter and confess: “She’s making my third eye ache.”

More laughter.

Chuck then confesses, he and his wife didn’t realize Trudy and Norman broke up. Had they been in the gossip loop, they would have rather invited Norman to the party!

Oy.

No sooner do we get this out of the way and guess who appears by my side again. Damn. This time there’s a group of us, so I feel slightly secure in my position. Until she starts hanging on me…..grabbing my arm and literally hip checking me as she talks. One more time and I’m going to arm bar you like an UFC fighter.

Honestly, where is your boundary? This is my space here…imagine a little circle. This is your space over there…another circle.

Now if I can touch you with my eyelashes, you’re too close, unless I’m in love with you. If I can touch you with my shoulder, you’re too close unless I like you and find you non-threatening. If you’re constantly in my space and I can touch you with my arm half way extended, that’s too damn close and I’m going to back up, all the way into Canada if I have to lady.

The second time she bounded into me, I look at my better half and announce, “I’m going to pay for our order…” and I disappear across the room. Within minutes we’re both putting on our shoes, thanking the hosts and disappearing out the front door.

All the way to the car I kept checking over my shoulder. For certain I thought Trudy would jump out from behind the bushes. Yes, I did check the back seat of the car before getting in – no Trudy.

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