I was out for a post-dinner drink at a local bar with boyfriend and another couple a few days ago (don’t worry, boyfriend=husband) and a drunk Lauren Bacall accosted me. Ok, it wasn’t really Lauren Bacall, but she was beautiful in an unconventional way, had those same kind of sleepy, bedroom eyes, a smoker’s (or probably ex-smoker’s) voice and there was something very 40’s about her. Well, Ms. Bacall proceeded to tell me her entire life story as my evil friend found a way to fade into the background and our men laughed, drank beer and watched the large-screen tv, as married men do in bars.
She started with her first husband, the gambler, and went into the divorce and being a single mother and… I was trapped. And I don’t like being rude (in that way), so I listened and nodded and smiled and laughed and said oh! at all the appropriate parts. And then she leaned in, just a tinch too close and said, “Am I talking too much?” As she tilted slightly to her left and gripped the cocktail table to steady herself I could smell the chardonnay on her breath. “Oh, no,” I said, “it’s ok.” So she kept on. Why did I say that? What was wrong with me? And then she told me about her second husband, and how he died in his sleep shortly after they got married, and how she woke up to him dead in the bed. “Oh gosh,” I think I said. Gosh? I said gosh? So she kept going.
By now my friends and husband were giggling at me, and my deer-in-the-headlights situation. Those fuckers. “I’m talking too much. Am I talking too much?” she asked again. Was there a right answer here? Could I have said “Yes. Yes you are. You’re talking too much. Too much information. Gotta go!”? No. I just couldn’t say that. So she went on. And on. Twice more she checked in with me, each time leaning just a bit too close. I heard about the sons and their private schools, the house in Boca, the lost silver bracelet, how we’re all on a journey, the found silver bracelet, interior design, and finally the new fiancee (at the bar) and the (huge) rock on her finger. Mazel tov, Lauren Bacall! Boyfriend finally rescued me. Lauren Bacall almost hugged me goodbye but I tilted away from her as I said how nice it had been to meet her.
And it was. But too much information is still too much information, even when it’s Chardonnay induced.
Do you know people who cross boundaries of personal space or give out too much information? Do you do that when you write? Do I?