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October 16, 2010

I realize it is kind of ironic for me to write about this, since what I have here in this blog is effectively a long-running monologue (because let’s be honest, I don’t know how many people actually read my blog but only about six people ever comment on it). Nonetheless, I will address something that caused me a headache the other day.

I was on my way to Kyiv with Vika, the ultimate destination being Chernihiv, for a training related to a project the organization is doing on rights of disabled people to work. It was an early start, as usual, but this time we rode in style, in a van for seven people instead of a bus for 55. We were the first ones in the van, got good seats, picked up the other passengers, and were on our way. Because of the early hour, most everyone in this van settled in to sleep.

Except one man. This one man decided that the woman sitting next to him wanted to hear his opinion on politics. So he talked. And talked. And talked and talked and talked and talked. He talked about politics for four hours, basically the entire trip from Kirovograd to Kyiv.

Now, I don’t sleep in vehicles, I never have. Whatever it is about me, I have this inability to sleep in a car, train, plane, bus, van, or any other vehicle where other people have no problems. So I was awake anyway, but wanted to try to doze at least, as I had only slept for five hours before getting up for a 4 a.m. pickup. Unfortunately, even that was out of the question because of motormouth. After our “halfway” break I put on a podcast, but he even broke through Krista Tippett – and I can usually tune things out when I listen to her.

Was it what he was saying that somehow got into my unconscious, even though I did not understand most of it? Was it his droning voice? One would think that such a voice would be hypnotic, and lull a person to sleep, but no such luck for me. Instead, it had the effect of fingernails on a chalkboard, and ended up giving me a headache. When the bus arrived in Kyiv, I did not even wait for the driver to come and let us out – I opened the door myself, in my haste to escape this man and his voice.

So if I did not understand what he said, how do I know what he talked about? Vika told me, of course. And she slept the whole time, but she said the voice somehow got into her subconscious.

What I would like to know is, do people like this man not realize that not everyone wants to hear a four-hour monologue, no matter what the subject? Or do they know and, in their arrogance, not care, and believe that everyone SHOULD hear what they have to say? Do such people think their opinion is so much more important than other peoples’, or more important than their need for rest at 5 a.m.? Can he be so clueless? Whatever the  reason is, I will never know. All I can do is hope to have a more peaceful ride next time.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephen permalink
    October 16, 2010 8:35 am

    Perhaps you could have asked him to slow down his discourse so that you could better understand him with your limited local language skill. This might have weighed so heavy on him that he would have soon quieted down. Maybe…

  2. Mom permalink
    October 16, 2010 9:54 am

    He had something to say, and needed someone to listen. Maybe he was lonely. Depending on his age and living situation, he may have grabbed the first person to talk to and it took over. Not an uncommon trait in older people. Women often have female support groups to turn to. Men just talk with whomever. Given that you were in a foreign language situation you were greatly compromised. Were it me, I might have asked him to recognize that there were people sleeping around him. That may or may not have mattered. You have my sympathies.

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