Dispatches from the Introverted Mind: Please Stop Talking

Too many sentences aloud make me want to set myself on fire.

Adeline Dimond


A Bouquet of Flowers, Clara Peters, 1612 | Metropolitan Museum’s Open Access Program

Irma, my mother’s caregiver, asked me to buy a handheld blender. I said I would. Then Irma told me she needed the blender to make my mother homemade cookies, and that I should stop buying my mother store-bought cookies. I said I would stop buying them. Then Irma told me there were too many flies in my house. (She comes over once a week to take care of me, too.) I agreed, and explained that I had been trying to murder the flies several ways, and I didn’t know what else to do. She repeated that there were a lot of flies. At that point I had no choice but to go lie down. Too many sentences said aloud at once.

Yesterday I got a call from an unknown number. It was the new assistant for a guy I went to high school with, who was now a macher in Los Angeles real estate. She said she was going through his an old contact list. I said okay. She asked me if I remembered the macher. I said I did. She asked me if I wanted to be on his mailing list. I said sure. She asked for my email address. I gave it to her. Then she asked me if there was anything I needed from the macher. It was this last sentence that sent me into spasms of a dark rage, my brain pulsating. She, a stranger, had already interrupted my day with four unexpected sentences. Five was a bridge too far.

Two days ago I went into my office to pack up twenty years’ worth of work, because some middle manager 3000 miles away decided it was time to replace the carpet. I had to move stuff from the 7th floor to the 8th floor. I was there late, and the elevator has a security feature that doesn’t allow you to go between floors after 6 p.m. In fact, it doesn’t allow you to go to any floors after 6 p.m. I don’t know which security expert decided that the world turns into a very dangerous place after 6 p.m, but apparently this is the hour that it does.

This security feature meant that if I left the 7th floor, there was no way to get back to the 7th floor, let alone get to the 8th floor. Instead, I had to go down to the lobby, ask the guard to use some sort of doohickey to tell the elevator to take me to the other floor, after which I had to go back to the lobby and get the same guard to use the same doohickey to get…