Daily Archives: 19 June, 2008

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An Encounter in the Steam Room

At times I feel like a Guy Who Listen Too Much. Because I am naturally an avid listener, I take the effort to really, really listen to what someone is saying to me. I might not be actually keen in what the person is saying, but I will try arrange my facial expression into an approximation of being interested, and to inject thoughtful comments just to show willing.

While I was relaxing in the steam room today, an ang moh walked in, took a seat and asked how I was doing, bla bla. Not wanting to be mistaken as a snotty Asian, I replied politely and asked a few questions of equal courtesy.

From a casual chat about work (he is from advertising, and I am in marketing, see), the conversation turned into a full introductory course about antropology (what the hell is that?), a subject he studied and apparently applied in his line of work.

He painted the background on the topic – about how human’s ancestors were monkeys living on trees (how Darwin of him), and what made them moved to….. at which point my brain turned itself off. I nodded at all the right places, and repeated some of his keywords with an upward inflection at the end of it, which in turn prompted him to explain himself and thought I was actually interested.

But when he started to talk about a marketing book about six factors governing human behaviour, I knew I was in trouble. He went on and on about the first factor… and… and…

I just couldn’t be bothered. The steam room was getting unbearably hot, there were guys seated around us trying hard to ignore the ongoing lecture, and yet he went on and on like a broken record which won’t quit.

Right at the moment when he moved on to point number two and asked me to guess what it was, I knew I needed to get out, pronto.

“Uh, wait a second, it’s getting too hot in here, I’ll just…”

I didn’t even managed to finish that sentence. It was that hot (the steam room) and that boring (the ang moh).

I know, I should just do The Right Thing and told him while I find his topic absolutely fascinating, it is not the right place and right time to have such an intellectual discussion about it.

But I didn’t, ’cause deep inside I am not an adult yet.

It was admittedly an interesting encounter, but one I won’t want to do again.

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