Ear Rape

Something I have noticed since being back in school is that the generation of echo boomers which I belong to is FILLED with over-sharers. Has anyone else noticed this? I definitely noticed it a few times while still on FB but it was never too bad. What I have witnessed at school is on another level. I notice it more with younger females than any other group. I pretty much chalk it up to an immaturity issue which for right now they don’t have a lot of control over, I am willing to bet (as much as this pains me) that at 18 I was the same way. With this in mind, I can’t really get up on a high horse with this particular topic. I have to admit though, this quality is incredibly annoying!

My first semester back in school there was a 17-year-old in my Government class that wouldn’t allow the instructor to lecture for more than a few minutes (literally) without interrupting him with a personal story of some sort. The worst part, HER STORIES HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT WE WERE DISCUSSING IN CLASS. She was so self-absorbed! I don’t think she even paid attention to the lectures, how could she? Everything she babbled on about made no sense.

There has been at least one over-sharer each semester that has made me want to stab myself in the ear with my no. 2. Last semester it was Anthropology, same deal. She was constantly interrupting with personal anecdotes that just were not relevant. I really think these girls just like to hear themselves speak. The one from first semester was also a bit of know it all who ironically did not in fact know-it-all. So that was twice as annoying.

This semester is no different. Every time the Professor starts a topic this girl’s hand shoots up. To me these people are the epitome of the idiom about not being able to see past the end of your nose. Do they really think they are the only ones in a class of 20+ people, some of whom are 35+ years old so would undoubtedly have more life experience, that are able to relate to what the Professor is talking about? No, dummy. The rest of us are just polite enough to let the Professor complete his train of thought without making it all about us.  This is not to say that the rest of us don’t interact and participate, we absolutely do, but when he asks for it not every time he takes a breath in a sentence. The other thing that bothers me about people who do this is how awkward it makes everyone else feel. You can see it on the Instructor’s faces when they are dealing with this kind of person and trying to be polite about the constant frivolous interruptions. Some of them aren’t so polite about it, that’s when things really get uncomfortable but either way, your story is annoying enough plus we have to endure the look of pain on the Instructor’s face every time your called on.

Examples of said ear rape:

– Topic of discussion is Thomas Jefferson. Topic of over-sharer’s story is her Aunt’s experience working for DCF. (No Lie).

– Topic of discussion is Stages of Sleep. Over-sharer has story about how a high school teacher would wake up sleeping students, another story about how her parents have PTSD, another about how she doesn’t need more than three hours of sleep, another about how she can sleep through her bedroom being vacuumed, another about how she can sleep with the lights on and another about how she talks in her sleep. (Not really sure how the Professor got a word in edgewise).

– Topic of discussion is Memory, specifically the effects on memory after injury to the hippocampus. Over-sharer’s hand shoots up and flails desperately until called on, shares a story about an episode of Sponge Bob she watched involving him deleting all of his memory except fine dining experiences.. “And then there were a bunch of Sponge Bob’s running around in his head trying to find the file and yea, it was hilarious”.. (I lost two minutes of my life I will never be able to get back because of this ninny).

While all of this is more of just superficial nonsense what is really bad is the over-sharers that hit you with heavy emotional baggage after knowing them for all of a minute and a half. (Or those who want to share about their sex life etc.. Ick). This recently happened to me in a public restroom, I kid you not. So, first of all the “minute and a half” thing would be an exaggeration for this story. I do not know this person well but I had spent time with her on two different occasions before this incident occurred. Keep in mind, however, that on the two other occasions we spent time together were in group settings, entering the women’s restroom together was the first official time I had ever been alone with this girl.

I met this girl out a few weeks earlier and after finding we had a few things in common we exchanged numbers to make other plans together in the future. So on this night we were downtown with other friends, we had been drinking, she more than I apparently, (I am a social drinker in that I hold the same beer most of the night to appear social). When we went to the restroom together she is in the stall next to me and starts unloading on me (in slurred speech) about how she has had a hard life and so many obstacles to overcome and her Dad is dying and Mom has a disease and so on.. How do you respond to this?! We are in a public restroom not my house or a private dinner where the flow of conversation has led to these topics naturally coming up. Nothing feels appropriate as a response in times like these. You say, “Oh I’m sorry to hear that” but it’s just uncomfortable and often sounds phony no matter how much you mean it. To make matters worse, I am pretty sure she wanted  me to reciprocate by divulging personal information about myself. Um no. I keep my cards close to my chest. I can know someone for years before revealing anything like that.

I just don’t get it. I think it just goes back to our generation being so egocentric. We think everyone wants to know everything about us. Wrong. I am no more interesting than the next girl and I am well aware of it. The things that I have experienced in my life have been experienced by countless numbers of women before me and will be experienced by countless numbers of women after me, I am not unique or special in this way. I am not against sharing though, I think it is important to be able to be vulnerable and trust others with your feelings. I think it is important to tell your story, it can be therapeutic if there is something you are trying to work through. All of these things are good, it’s just a matter of appropriateness. Your therapist is an appropriate person to share the gory details not a class full of people who are unsuspecting and unable to leave if they do not want to hear. At your home with your boyfriend would be an appropriate place and person to have these personal talks with, not the public restroom with a new acquaintance that doesn’t even know your last name yet! Or even something as simple as a Blog over FB. This is my personal Blog a much better platform to share than on FB that is intended for pictures and reconnecting with friends from high school etc.

You know, I laugh as I write this because it’s silliness really. This is not a serious issue by any means, it is more of a faux pas. Ear rape happens to all of us at one time or another.

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