- Paul Davidson
Today’s Prognosis on Passive-Agressive Whisper Talking
We’ve all got a little bit of the -path in us. But mostly, we’re all psychopaths.
Why else then, as we stand in line at the supermarket, do we whisper to ourselves (but loud enough for everyone around us to hear) that we’re going to be putting that plastic food separator on the treadmill so I can separate my food from your food. Why do we say, out-loud, “I’m just gonna put this thing right here” when we’re making no real effort to communicate with anyone but ourselves.
It’s not like we are talking to YOU. We’re telling ourselves, albeit loud enough, because without making any real contact with you, we’d like you to know what we’re doing. It’s sort of, what I like to call, The New Millenium’s Brand-New Communication System, which I have dubbed a secondary name which is called Passive-Agressive Whisper Talking.
Passive-Agressive Whisper Talking takes many forms. But there are two distinct types — the kind where your whispers subtly communicate your frustration with another human being without getting involved in any kind of physical altercation — like the moment where you’re standing behind someone in line at the movie theater and the person in front of you is taking forever. And you’re standing alone and you passively-agressively whisper to yourself something like, “I totally rushed to get here on time and now look at all these people!”
The second type of P.A.W.T. involves whispering about things that only you care about but which, by whispering out loud, gives you some satisfaction of communicating to the strangers around you. Like the moment where you are standing next to someone at a CD store and you’re perusing a disc and you say to yourself “This is a really great album” or you’re standing in line at a fast food place and you whisper to yourself, “How hungry am I?” None of us expect anyone to answer, yet we feel the need of hearing it ourselves, outside of the safety that is our own private brain.
So why do we whisper private messages to ourselves so loud that others can hear?
After doing a blind-test with 10 different people (on my own, out there in the World, and without their knowledge that such tests were going on), I uttered 10 different whispered phrases to see just what kind of results I could garner. All of these tests took place in public places where many people were standing around perusing, waiting to pay for things, or just hanging out drinking coffee. (I was always alone.) Here are the results:
P.A.W.T. #1: Near a magazine stand The Whisper: “God, I really banged my knee into something.” Response: A stolen look at my knee, then disinterest.
P.A.W.T. #2: At the Coffee Shop The Whisper: “Why am I so stuffed up?” Response: Woman slides her chair away from me, no vocal response.
P.A.W.T. #3: At The 10-Items or Less Checkout Line The Whisper: “Five, six, seven, eight, nine — damn!” Response: Cashier gives me a smile, nods, like she’s about to hook me up.
P.A.W.T. #4: At the Comic Book Shop, looking at action figures The Whisper: “Yeah, I already have this one, although it’s in mint condition.” Response: Other peruser gives me a look like I’m stuck up, rolls their eyes.
P.A.W.T. #5: In line at the Blockbuster Video The Whisper: “No, I shouldn’t have candy.” Response: Patron in front of me says, “Oh, c’mon. Live a little.”
P.A.W.T. #6: At the Drug Store, perusing Bug Spray The Whisper: “I hate those bastard ants.” Response: Customer perusing nasal spray says, “Yeah, I hate those little buggers, too.”
P.A.W.T. #7: Playing Game on Cell Phone The Whisper: “I am SO good at this.” Response: No one responds, although they hear me utter the phrase two more times.
P.A.W.T. #8: At the DMV, Renewing My Registration, Reading Signs/Ads The Whisper: “Seat belt, shmeat-belt.” Response: DMV clerk closes window just as my turn comes up.
P.A.W.T. #9: In the Water Aisle at the Supermarket, Watching Woman Fill Cart with Water The Whisper: “God, it’s like the end of the World or something.” Response: Woman turns, glares, shoves two more gallon bottles into her cart, leaves.
P.A.W.T. #10: Looking at the cover of the Toy Story DVD in a Video Store, reciting quotes in my head — sort of. The Whisper: “You are a sad, strange, little man.” Response: Some guy far to my left looks like I’ve hurt him forever.
As you can see by the results, humans everywhere are privy to Passive-Agressive Whisper Talking, and as far as I’m concerned — I think we subconsciously know that people can hear us. Yet, for something that starts at an early age (how many children sit alone in a room whispering to themselves about what they’re doing, feeling, etc), WFME’s prognosis on P.A.W.T.’ing is that it can’t be good for our confidence and psyche.
If you want to say something, I say whisper it loud! Let the world know you’re itchy or you’re sick of people not having their change ready when they get to the toll booth. Sing the praises of yourself while in line at the El Pollo Loco. Be proud about your new shoes.
Don’t whisper — TALK.
At least then, people may stop referring to me, er, YOU…as the psychopath behind your back.