...the chatty old man at Starbucks. When he steps up to order his coffee and butter croissant, you can be sure you'll get an earful. He flirts, he inquires, he quips. It doesn't matter how long the queue is, or how much of the busy employees' attention he's dominating. Sometimes I'll watch him in line, as he searches out things in the store he can use to start conversation. Today he examined some of the inoffensive CDs on the counter and, when a barista approached, he removed a British Invasion CD and chatted about it for a few minutes, then put it back on the rack, and ordered his usual. If it's not one thing, it's another. It seems like chatty old man always has something to talk about!
And sure, that might qualify him for the "Mr. Friendly" award, but Mr. Confidence? Well, what if I told you he did all of this unsolicited chatting THROUGH AN ELECTRONIC VOICEBOX STUFFED INSIDE A HOLE IN HIS THROAT??? That is confidence.
I am not much for small talk to begin with, but if I had to speak with a digital robo-voice through a special electronic device, I think I would choose my words very carefully. I wouldn't go out of my to approach a Starbucks barista and say, "Hel. Lo. Will. I. En. Joy. This. Com. Pact. Disc. Sound. Track. For. In. The. Wild. Be. Cause. I. Am. Pret. Tee. Wild. Young. Lay. Dee. Ha. Ha. Bloop. Bleep. Bzz."
If I were in the chatty old man's shoes and voice modulator, here are the only things I would ever bother pressing my hand to my throat-hole to say:
"Ex. Cuse. Me. Can. You. Kind. Lee. Die. Rect. Me. To. The. Near. Est. Gun. Shop?"
"Par. Don. Me. But. Can. You. Please. Tell. Me. How. To. Dis. En. Gage. The. Safe. Tee. Switch?"