D’You Get Me?

I’m a fan of public transport, and I use London’s buses on an almost daily basis, but sometimes I could happily swap my seat on the upper deck for the inside of a limo with darkened windows.

It’s not my own privacy that I’d be protecting, but being the unwilling audience of other people’s conversations is something I find trying at times. It’s not even what they are talking about that disrupts my thoughts, it’s the verbal tics.

This morning, travelling to work on the 148, I was reading my book. Suddenly I lost concentration, and didn’t know why. Then the penny dropped; I had registered that a woman several seats behind me was using the phrase Do you know what I mean? as a form of punctuation. For the rest of the journey, and I got off before she did, and she was still carrying on her ‘phone call, I noted with increasing discomfort her repetition of these words. I couldn’t tell you what the conversation was about.

At lunchtime, I shared a table with three strangers, twenty somethings, obviously well-educated and articulate, yet they punctuated every statement with like.

What is is about these verbal tics that is so annoying? My bus ride from hell is being force fed an overheard conversation of exactlys, do-you-get-mes, or oh-my-days. And why is it that I tune in and notice them?

Annoying may not be the right word. Once tuned in, I am almost squirming every time the particular phrase is repeated. I’m uncomfortable, embarrassed even. I’m distressed. I turn round to see what the user looks like, as though I expect them to have two heads or something equally bizarre.

They never do. They are always perfectly ordinary people who happen to repeat favourite words and phrases. I wonder if my condition has a medical name; if there is anything I can do to desensitise my ears. These people aren’t doing anything wrong, and my reaction seems disproportionate.

Do you know what I mean?

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12 thoughts on “D’You Get Me?

  1. I have a difficult time with people who use their cells in restaurants. I have no idea why it bothers me. Not much different than the conversation of people dining at a table. I am happy for texting only for the reason that people talking on cells has decreased greatly. It really bothers me to be sitting in a restaurant and have to listen to a conversation about someone’s surgery. I probably need to stay out of restaurants because I really don’t want to have to listen to people, I just want to enjoy my meal. I think I might be a loner… 🙂

    • I loathe it when I go to have my hair cut and get cross examined about my holidays/job/family. I know it’s supposed to be about making the customer comfortable, but t doesn’t work with me. My best hairdresser ever, who then became a landscape gardener, as well as cutting my hair as I liked it, was a reader, and we used to talk books.

  2. Best not to click the “like” button on this post then if “you know what I mean”!!! Yes… drives you mad doesn’t it….hairdressers also usually open with..”doing anything nice later..?”…very annoying….and mobile phone users usually first question is “where are you”!

      • Not really although with hairdressers I usually say that I am going to work in the garden which surprises them that I should want my hair coiffed!! I also had a decorator who began every sentence with”actually” and a plumber who ended every sentence with ” we’ll get there mate”!

  3. I missed this when it was posted. It’s one of those where the comments are as enjoyable to read as the post itself.

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