Remember that evening of September 13th 2009, when Kanye West said to Taylor Swift: “Ima let ya finish but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time!” Remember that? I think that was the day Kanye stood up and loudly gave everybody permission to interrupt.
These days I find myself to be a woman of incomplete sentences. My sentences get snuffed out by pompous, persistent retorts and then from sheer exhaustion, they take leave to go and die a quiet death somewhere.
I have always thought that being a good listener was a good trait. But now it seems that in order to let your sentences live to a ripe old age, you need to be a good interrupter.
I barely get through slide three on most presentations before some client belts out: “I’m just gonna stop you there.” Lifetimes go by before I get to slide four, where lo and behold – I’ve addressed client’s very very important concern.
Sure, interruption is an art. And a good conversation relies on syncopated words – pleasant twists and turns, surprising revelations and precise comic timing but the line between art and a jelly-and-custard trifle is a fine one.
Sadly, the people with the least salient or insightful points to add are often the ones who blast through your sense pause or enjambed lines like a runaway train. Everyone can forgive wit and wisdom but no one should have to endure hot air.
I’m tired of The Interrupters. I’m nauseated by The Interjectors. I want to explain to them that pauses exist to add meaning or drama and are not open invitations to invade. I want to tell them that the trajectory of time allows for all to be revealed. I want to tell the quiet people in the room to displace cacophony – to clear their throats and to hoist their voices like billowing flags. I want to say, “May I finish, please?” instead of “C- Ca- Can I just fin-”
I want to let The Interrupters know that everything in this life is fast enough. Everything exists in bite-sized chunks and manic blurts. We trip over everything and tumble over polite words because we need to “drill down” and “unpack” at dizzying speeds. We are reckless and impatient and fast becoming buffoons.
Now I may very well be channeling the voice of Sister Lily, the Sri Lankan nun from my Catholic Primary School, St Anthony’s, but I have to say that I miss quiet decorum, calm debate, refined mannerisms and just plain old respect.
Next time an unworthy Bowling Ball rams through my carefully selected arrangement of words, I’m going to have to pluck up some very feminine balls and learn to say: “NO. You may NOT stop me right now. Hell, I’m just getting started.”