#randomtweet: Navigating the dreaded AS (Awkward Silence)

2010-09-25 23:11

You know how it is. One minute you’re enjoying a tête-à-tête with someone or one of those group discussions that require excessive use of the medulla oblongata, when it happens.

Someone lets out a linguistic fart and an awkward silence ensues.

The Awkward Silence (or AS if you may – not to be confused with the AS that stands for Airtime Simulation whereby one tells another person that they will call) is like silence, only more... awkward.

It is not like the silence you experience when you’re sleeping and that darn tap stops making that darn dripping noise because your darn husband/boyfriend/friend/plumber finally fixed it.

No, that’s a good silence. That’s the SS (Sleep Silence).

The AS creeps up on you. No one ever prepares to induce an AS.

Yes, AS is a debilitating killer of confidence and conversation, but there’s hope.

Here’s the be-all and end-all of AS’s (notice the apostrophe, please).

How AS’s arise:
1. Drunk relatives

My friend, if you want to avoid having to hear your drink go down your throat and through your 3-metre-long intestines, you might want to avoid that uncle who can’t walk straight because he’s just gulped down a whole bottle of Johnnie Walker.

These people have been known to dish out family secrets in unmerciful doses at family gatherings. Of course those who really want to avoid the AS avoid family gatherings altogether. Usually these people are professors. At Oxford.

2. Linguistic farts
Some people think AS’s are induced by conversation with people suffering from verbal diarrhoea but it’s actually linguistic farting.

See, with verbal diarrhoea, everybody feels sorry for the person suffering from it. In the same way, you don’t feel sorry for yourself when someone vomits, you pity the vomiter.

With farts, you feel sorry for everyone. Likewise when you find yourself in the presence of a serial linguistic farter.

They say anything, anywhere. Like exclaiming at a 21st birthday celebration, “I think my husband is having an affair!” Naturally no one will want to speak after that linguistic fart for fear that it has become airborne.

3. A thorough knowledge of Jack (slang for ‘nothing’)
This is the biggest inducer of the AS. When you know jack about a certain topic, naturally you’ll have nothing to say. Unless you’re one of those people who always have something to say about everything. Once again the professors from Oxford make a brainy appearance.

How to combat the AS:
1. Alcohol!

Now, I hear you saying, “but that will
churn out drunk uncles by the dozens!” True, but inject the right amount of C2H5OH into homo sapiens’ bloodstream and you’ll have them drinking out of your... er... glass.
Soon they’ll be telling you about that time in Hawaii when they killed a pig with their bare feet and married a woman whose dad was also the resident WWE wrestler at the island resort’s... on second thoughts, cut back on the ethanol. In fact, only befriend teetotallers, who teach at Oxford.

2. Verbal fibre

Fibre can be fun. Okay I swear I’m not the ghost of primary school teacher past, but fibre can make you happy, especially verbal fibre.

Verbal fibre is that perfect formula that stops people that suffer from linguistic farting from spewing their vile verbal vitriol.

Verbal fibre comes in the form of laughing. When they say something like, “Your baby is a cross between ugly and offensive”... laugh. It will catch them off guard.

And it will stop an almost-sure case of AS. But even better? Laugh while looking at their feet. And point. Make your eyes wide as well, and repeat this procedure each time you see them for the rest of the day.

They’ll go around the whole day wondering, at what on earth doth she laugheth? I shall not say anything lest she maketh a mockery of mine feet.

3. Word association

It’s one of the best ways to combat this scourge of AS that is taking the peace from our non-verbal communication.

If someone mentions Iraq, tell them about the history of nuclear weapons. If someone mentions beauty queens, tell them about the epidemic of eating disorders.

If someone should dabble in discourse concerning diamonds, spill the deets on Naomi Campbell’s career. It doesn’t have to end there; the possibilities are endless!

4. Teach at Oxford

You’ll always have something to say.

Chat away!


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