Yesterday, a coworker told me that she’d met a couple who were also named Frost. She beamed at me as though she’d handed me a birthday cake. I’m socially awkward under the best of circumstances, so when I’m in a situation I don’t understand I tend to fight or flee.
This puzzled me enough that I couldn’t react. I’m used to getting questions about my name — am I related to Robert Frost? Jack Frost? (No, …yes, dammit) — but this approach was unknown to me. It wasn’t a question, but clearly some manner of response was expected.
“Ah,” I said. This acknowledged the statement without inviting its own response. This always seems like a good approach, and it never works. What I’d like to convey is “please stop talking to me”, but I’ve found that I can’t say that. Not because it’s rude, but because it actually extends the conversation as I’m then expected to explain in detail why I don’t won’t to talk to the person. So, “ah”.
“I wondered if you were related,” she returned, and told me their names.
Ah, indeed. I was afraid that’s where we were going.
“I have no idea, and I don’t want to know if they are,” I told her. This was a bit rude, but I really needed to convey my disinterest in the subject.
“They’re really nice,” she informed me.
“Then we’re not related,” I quipped.
With that I went back to work.