I have this friend. A really good friend; someone whose company I enjoy, whose friendship I cherish. She is a delightful, bubbly person and I am about this close to smothering her, hacking up the body and burying the pieces under the floorboards.
My friend has picked up a little verbal habit. She has all but abandoned the periods in her speech, and ends every other sentence with a trailing “so…”, her voice dropping, the dots practically audible. It’s a harmless habit, really, but it’s reached the point where I wait for it. I can’t concentrate on what she’s saying because I’m laying bets with myself on how the sentence will end.
Conversation with her goes something like this:
Me: “How is the coffee?”
Her: “Too hot to drink, so…”
Me, after a pause: “Do you want some cream?”
Her: “No, I’m trying to lose some weight. I’ve cut out cream and sugar, so…”
I wait before I respond, because the lack of a definite ending to the sentence leads me to believe she is going to say something else.
“So?” I want to scream “So WHAT? WHAT? Where is the explanation you imply is forthcoming?”
But I don’t scream. I just smile. I think (more and more often lately) of Edgar Allan Poe’s wonderful, terrible story “The Tell-Tale Heart”. How the narrator’s friend had one milky, white eye, probably a cataract. Poor fellow couldn’t help it. How the narrator loved his friend, but came to detest that eye, staring, staring at him all the time. How he finally had to kill his friend to shutter the detestable orb once and for all. He buried the body under his floorboards.
It doesn’t seem such an unreasonable response, the more I think about it.
To make things worse, this verbal tic is spreading. I’ve noticed more people have adopted the trailing “so…”. I’ve even found myself doing it. I must be more vigilant with my speech, and less critical of others.
Because the only part of our house with wood floors is the dining room. And it’s not that big.