People say prescient things when they break up with you. The best line anyone’s ever used on me was this: “I hope one day you meet someone who’s exactly like you.” Great line, right? Sure, but it was lost on me at the time. I responded, at least in my head, with something idiotic like, “Well, yeah. I’d love to meet someone with whom I have an abundance of qualities in common. That would be a very pleasant experience.” In reality, this came out as “Go fuck yourself” with both middle fingers actively pulsating skyward, but since there’s a point to this story, I’ll make myself look like a slapdick to properly illustrate what I’m getting at.
Someone exactly like me. I didn’t know what this was at the time, because I was perfect. Right? I was just perfect. I couldn’t possibly see how meeting someone exactly like me could have been meant pejoratively. From an outside perspective, this is likely pretty obvious, but I wasn’t seeing it.
Now, the one thing I’ve realized I need, within the context of any relationship, is good communication. What this used to mean was that I needed someone to sit and listen to me, and this didn’t need to be a two-way street. It didn’t matter what anyone else had to say, as long as I had my sounding board and the person who was supposed to be listening to me was rapt and reacting positively to whatever bullshit was coming out of my mouth. Would I return the favor? Occasionally. Never consistently. Just sometimes, but I didn’t know this—or what it was like—until the shoe was on the other foot.
I think I didn’t know what it was like to have someone tune me out until recently because I’m typically only around people who pay attention to me. This would seem to be some form of natural selection, i.e., if you’re tuning me out in the middle of a conversation, I won’t want to be around you for very long—I kind of need to talk—and our time as friends or significant others will be short. I’m not used to that, and I’m sensitive to having it done to me despite neither noticing, nor giving a flying fuck, when I do it to others.
This is known as narcissism, but the fact that I swing that way is old news by now.
It took someone doing this to me—tuning me out at random intervals because they seemingly found me uninteresting—to understand what was meant by the whole someone exactly like me thing. You’re not listening to me. Yes I am. No, you’re not. You have no idea what I just said. That’s not true. Yes it is. You just completely tuned me out because you were thinking of your own shit and you don’t give a flying fuck what I just said. Yes I do. No you don’t, oh my God, holy crap, you don’t think I’m interesting. I bore you. I actually bore you. I don’t bore anyone! How can this be happening? What the fuck?
But yeah, see, I get it now. There are people in the world who can’t even fake it. Crazy, right? Maybe it doesn’t even mean the person they’re listening to is boring. Maybe it means they’re just too wrapped up in their own shit to pay the requisite attention to anything but what’s happening in their own head. Whatever it is, whatever the reason, the irony isn’t lost on me.
I’m fucking boring. Wow.