One day earlier this summer my wife was an hour late. The reason she was an hour late is because she was leaving a store and started talking to an elderly man who literally would not let her leave. He started discussing his life in the 1950s, and went off on tangents, and she kept trying to say she had to go, but every time she tried to interrupt him, he would completely ignore her and keep on talking. And she was too nice to leave, so she was stuck for an hour talking to this guy while her husband grumpily waited for her.
I on the other hand am not somebody who allows his time to be wasted.
I go to the gym twice a week. My time is really limited, so I get to the gym, put my bag in the locker and do a half-hour weight-lifting routine. I have it down to a science. Pull-ups, dips, biceps curls, triceps, push-ups, a whole series of core exercises for the back and stomach, and a few balancing moves. And then I’m outta there. And at least half the time there is this guy who is in his seventies (but has the body of somebody in his fifties) who way-lays some innocent punk like me and just talks to him — for hours. I’ve seen the victims. They keep on looking at their watches, trying to get a word in edge-wise. No way. Jack Lalanne will not let it happen. They are stuck.
Well, Jack Lalanne tried that on me today. I was at the gym and in a hurry to get back to the office so I could continue the all-important job of monitoring M* and Facebook (while occasionally working). Jack tried the “what does your hat say?” routine, but I had seen him use that on many a victim in the past. He comments on your hat or your shirt and then spends a few hours telling you stories about his dog or friend or something related to whatever is written on your hat or shirt. So, he grabbed my hat off my head and started telling me something about his dog, and I interrupted and said, “sir, I’ve really got to go, but you have a great day,” and I snatched my hat back, and I was off to the locker room before he could say a word. Ha-ha, foiled him!
As I left the locker room, I walked by the weight room, and there he was — he had found another victim, who was looking at his watch and trying to get away. But that guy was not nearly as smooth as I am. Ha-ha again!
I know what a lot of you are thinking. You think I am a jerk because I should be nice to this poor guy. He’s probably lonely, doesn’t have many people to talk to. What Would Jesus Do? Would He be like my wife (sit and talk to the guy while she keeps somebody else waiting) or would He be like me (“gotta run and go heal some blind lepers!”). I think it’s obvious — He would not keep me or the lepers waiting.
But this is your chance — you make the call. Do you talk to the elderly person who wants to tell you his or her life’s story, or do you get on to More Important Things?