The Quiet One
“Hey man, why are you so quiet? Everything OK? You tired? You sad? Laryngitis? You awake, you alive? I never hear a peep out of you–you’re so QUIET. Why are you so QUIET?”
Damon was at it again, bugging Adam for not talking enough. As if there was some rule about how much one’s supposed to talk to his or her co-workers, and Damon knew Adam was in violation of it.
Damon turned to Barbara. “Am I right, Barb? Ain’t this guy QUIET? Barely ever says a word. Half the time, I don’t even know he’s there. Dude could not show up for a week and probably no one would notice!”
That was it. The whole obnoxious “You’re so QUIET!” thing was fairly easy to ignore, but one of Adam’s major pet peeves was when people talked about him but not to him, right in front of his face, as if he were invisible.
Adam stood up–which got everyone’s attention–and addressed Damon.
“‘Quiet’ and ‘not quiet’ are relative terms. If I seem ‘so quiet’, it’s probably just because I am compared to YOU. You know, correct me if I’m wrong, but you don’t have to run your mouth for eight hours straight every day in order to do this job, do you?”
Adam sat back down and felt a chill come over the office. He immediately knew he’d gone one sentence too far.
He hated Damon, but he had to work with the guy and if he’d just left it at the ‘everything’s relative’ remark, he easily could have played it off as a joke. But he had to go and add that last sentence, which didn’t really leave room for interpretation; you don’t accuse someone of ‘running their mouth’ if you like them and are just indulging in some good-natured teasing.
Adam sat in silence with the rest of them, figuring out how he was going to word what would surely be an awkward apology to Damon, and was reminded of why he had chosen to be the office’s quiet one in the first place.