I don’t understand close talkers. The ones who get so close to your face, you can see their tonsils and smell their breakfast. Due to my height, many people believe it is a requirement to get right in my face to hold a conversation. (Is there a manual out there being passed around entitled “How to talk to little people?” If this is the advice being disseminated by said book, all copies must be thrown out.) There are three types of close talkers, the leaners, the kneelers and the chairs.
The leaners, get right in my face to start a conversation. Many of them double over and put their hands on my shoulders. I must first state, I am an extreme germaphobe. When strangers and known dirty people get too close, the leaning over touching thing sends me into code red . If you have known me for any length of time you can recognize the signs. My face and body tighten up. My lips get stuck in a pursed smile. Meanwhile, my brain has shut down and there is a ticker tape in my head repeating “Why are you so close?, Why are you breathing on me? Have you washed your hands lately? Did you just try to hug me? Back Up!!!! Back Up!!!!”
It’s a scientific fact that sound travels, we don’t have to be so close. But you can’t tell the kneelers that. This close talker group believes it’s appropriate to kneel in bars to speak to me. They always say, “I want to look you in the eye,” as they get down on their knees. Some of them attempt to hug me while they’re down there. Thru my pursed lips, I ask them to please get up off the ground, because A. They are blocking the bar. B. Everyone is staring. C. No one is really tall enough that I can’t see their eyes if standing. Somehow the kneelers never hear my pleas, despite being right up in my grill.
But, my absolute favorite close talkers, are the ones who ask me stand on a chair. Again, so we can look each other in the eye. (There are a lot of people in the world, hung up on direct eye contact.) My reply is always, “I can see your eyes from down here, just tip your head a little to the south and I’ll tip mine a little to the north.” Some of them try to insist, by grabbing a chair and patting the seat. I refuse and they insist, until I excuse myself to “use the restroom.” Honestly, I am not that interested in the conversation that I’d hold it standing on a chair. Would you stand on a chair if you were talking to Yao Ming? Would you feel like a fool if you did? Because, you sure would look like one.
Despite the close talkers, most of the time I go about my day like everyone else until some genius asks me to stand on a chair.