Tale of an overly EMPHATIC talker

Picture this: tiny restaurant. Quick dinner before my son’s basketball practice. Precious solo time with my youngest in which I hope to catch up and check in with him.

Our first five minutes are great. He’s telling me about his recent test at school, the book he is reading. And then, as luck would have it, an OET is seated next to us, barely a foot away.

OET, for the uninitiated among you, stands for overly EMPHATIC talker. As in, people who loudly overemphasize certain words and syllables. As in, “This dish is DElicous!” or “She has the most MARVELOUS home.”mouth

I can handle these folks for a couple of minutes at a cocktail party. But do not ask me to talk over them for an hour while eating at a quiet restaurant, trying to decompress between work and my other job as a mommy.

Perhaps being in the early stages of a cleanse might also have had the teensiest effect on my tolerance. Perhaps I could have been a smidgen cranky. Just a smidgen.

This mother looked as if she was trying to do what I was trying to do—have a dinner to catch up with her child—in this case, a teenaged girl.

And so it began.

“So, hon, are you liking basketball?” I ask.

“Oh MY. They have a CHORIZO omelette. CHORIZO. Do you know what that is? I DON’T. We’ll have to ask the waiter. Oh, WAITER. The chorizo omelette INTRIGUES us. But what is CHORIZO?”

Really? I think. How can you live in Chicago in the 21st century and not know what chorizo is? We are nothing if not a cultural melting pot. But I digress.

“Sweetie?” I say.

“Huh?” says my son, eyes on our OET neighbor.

“I asked if you liked basketball,” I said.

“Well in THAT case, we’ll take one of THOSE,” says OET. “And this water is simply LOVELY. What do you put IN it? REALLY? Just LEMON? AMAZING.”talk_too_much

“Um, yeah, I like it, Mom. I like playing with my—“

“DAD would love this. Maybe we should take something HOME to him. He’s been so BUSY lately, you know.”

“—friends,” says my son.

“At CHURCH last Sunday, they were talking about a QUILTING group I thought I’d join. Would you like to QUILT with me? I thought it would be so much FUN if we did it together.”

Teenaged daughter watches her mother intently and I can’t tell if the thought of quilting with this woman terrifies her or she is just a slow talker—but nothing comes out of her mouth.

“That’s great,” I say. “I’m so glad you’re enjoying basketball. We need to think about a spring sport. Anything come to –“

“MMMMMM. Oh my. This CHORIZO is the best I’ve ever had.”

Of course it is, lady. You didn’t know what it was five minutes ago. It’s obviously the first chorizo you’ve ever had.

“–mind?” I ask.

“POOR Mrs. Blanchard. She is just SICK over missing ladies’ group the other night. And we had SUCH a good DISCUSSION that night also. About NUTRITION.”

I guess they didn’t cover the fat content of chorizo in that discussion.

“What did you say, Mom?” says my distracted son.

“Never mind, sweets. Let’s finish up and get you to basketball.”

“Oh, are you LEAVING? We’re sitting so close and we didn’t even get to INTRODUCE ourselves.”

NO, we didn’t, m’aam. And yet, I feel I know you.

Have a FABULOUS dinner. But we have to GO. REALLY.



9 Comments Add yours

  1. Curse of the Quiet One in a Loudmouth World.

  2. lmarieallen says:

    I sometimes, no often, wish that I could be 1/10 as oblivious as many people seem to be. How liberating would it be to have absolutely no clue that you are so freaking annoying? You would walk around in an OE cloud, blocking grocery aisles while yelling at your Bluetooth. By the way, I call my daughter “Sweet”.

    1. candidkay says:

      I hear you. There’s a difference, to me, between someone being enthusiastic about life and truly relishing an experience–and someone who over emphatically tries to convince themselves they’re having that experience. The authenticity shines through or it doesn’t–and forced authenticity drives me nuts! Love that you call your daughter Sweet–she’ll always remember that:).

  3. Completely agree with you. I wonder if someone recorded this person and then played it back to them, if they would get it. This also happens a lot on public transport, particularly when the OET is on their phone to another OET. It’s infuriating if you’re trying to read, have a quiet conversation with a friend, or just relax with your own thoughts.

    1. candidkay says:

      They actually have “quiet cars” on the Chicago metro trains now–interesting concept:).

      1. We have them in Victoria, Australia, on our long-distance country chains, but not on the metro ones. It’s a great idea. Increasingly, too, people are getting on the train and playing games on their portable devices without headphones, so you can hear the game, sometimes turned up quite loudly. Weird.

  4. markbialczak says:

    You lean over. You speak very quietly. This will ensure that she’ll have to concentrate to hear you, and set an example, too. You say, slowly and clearly, ‘Can you please lower your freaking voice? I am trying to hold a conversation with my son.’

    1. candidkay says:

      Or I could just bring you, Mark. Sounds like you have this routine down to a science:).

      1. markbialczak says:

        I also have been the emphatic talker a time or two in my life, Kay! But I will listen when asked to bring it down a decibel or 200.

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