Do you remember LP records? Ah, those were the good old days. You gently lowered the needle onto the vinyl and went about your business while the record played for 30-50 minutes by itself without any further action from you.
Sometimes people who like to hear themselves talk seem like LPs. Mention one of their favourite topics and you’ve put their needle in the groove. There is no off switch. Their LP on that topic will play in its entirety, even if you’ve already heard it hundreds of times. I’ve noticed that those with Aspergers tend to be a bit like this.
But to the monologuer’s captive audience, it’s easy to jump to conclusions. It feels like the person speaking obviously considers us a complete idiot who didn’t hear, let alone retain, any of the information from the last time they spun their LP about their favourite topic for us. That’s why we tend to say, ‘Yes, I know. I know that already. You’ve already told me that. I haven’t forgotten’. And in moments of exasperation, ‘What do you think I am? An idiot!?’
They thought they were having a nice conversation with us. But you felt demeaned and even worse, brainwashed.
If you were raised as I was by a parent who tended to lecture endlessly or was perhaps on the spectrum, each life lesson they wished to impart to you was an LP. Cue your parent’s pet child-rearing topic and they were off to the races. The same long parental speech repeated, almost verbatim, from beginning to end, hundreds of times. There was no off switch and no respectful way to escape.
It felt like brainwashing. Like they were verbally pummelling your brain until it turned to jelly and you screamed, ‘Alright! I give up! I’ll do whatever you want!’ out of sheer exhaustion.
Now as an adult, when you meet others who tend to have long-playing records, it’s a huge trigger. They think they’re having a nice conversation with a friend. You feel like you’re being brainwashed again. It’s infuriating. It’s insulting. It’s boring.
So you try to explain how insulted you feel but they’re not having any of it. They insist that, contrary to how it feels, they don’t consider you an idiot at all. In fact, the only reason they bother to spin their LP for you is because they do consider you smart. They don’t understand why you find repetition insulting.
But you do! It feels like yet another intellectual beating. Maybe as a kid you had no option but to stay, listen patiently and knuckle under to whatever the parental LP pressured you into doing. But now every LP regardless of topic feels toxic. Your knee-jerk reaction is to fight the brainwashing, regardless of topic. To never bow to brainwashing ever again.
But unfortunately, the phonograph doesn’t have an off switch. Once the LP is engaged, there’s no way to stop it. So you find ways to gracefully exit the situation. Go check the roast. Freshen the drinks. Anything to escape.
Unfortunately, like so many of my blog postings about the disconnects between people, it’s easy to define the problem but certainly there must be a better way of handling the situation than fleeing. If there is, I wish I knew what it was.