The Grump has become downright chatty in social situations. *gasp!* I know, right? He talks to people in public. Willingly. He makes idle chitchat with complete strangers. In line at the grocery store, in an aisle when we’re both scanning the shelves, even in public restrooms. (Yes, it’s become that bad.) He… initiates the conversation.
Sometimes people join in the conversation… this IS Iowa, after all, not California… and sometimes people who aren’t as jovial and friendly as The Grump look at him like he has two heads. When The Grump lived in California, in a past life, this response was not only acceptable, but preferred. People were rude. It just was. The Grump fit right in. Oh, there was the occasional person who suffered from “Dawn Syndrome” (inside joke for about three people) and who would always smile and try to start conversations with strangers, but those people were always and properly dissuaded from doing so simply by the surly responses they’d get from their intended targets. This is the environment where The Grump was raised, and in that sense The Grump flourished.
Then The Grump moved to Iowa. He’d be in line at the grocery store and people would openly talk to him and try to start conversation. People who didn’t know The Grump, they’d just… smile and talk as if we had been friends for decades. Initially, The Grump’s reaction was something like in this photo. (That’s Tim Curry, btw, an awesome actor. Not just as Frank-N-Furter, but check him out as Winston Newquay on Wiseguy. Awesome story arc.) Utter disbelief. Why are you talking to me? Turn around and mind your own business. Go away. Leave me alone.
Then The Grump joined Toastmasters roughly eleven years ago. The Grump met people. Good people. Friendly people. People he’d run into in the store and who were actually happy to see The Grump. Whoa, this was new. Toastmasters, without knowing it, taught The Grump how to be sociable, how to talk and have a conversation. Even “small talk”, which is more important that people think. And this eventually evolved to The Grump taking the first step and starting the conversation. Where did this come from?
Of course, the downside to knowing people is that one has to behave while in public. No more can The Grump ram carts in the grocery store. No more can The Grump give Iowa drivers the bird for being idiot drivers, even if they do deserve it. It might actually be someone The Grump actually knows, and that would be awkward.
Fast forward to 2019 and The Grump has become one of “Them”. A Chatty Cathy, a talker. The Grump has become Dawn.
This is unacceptable. The Grump must purge himself of these disgustingly social tendencies and become grumpy in public again. Yes, we do know that The Grump is an ultra sweetie guy, but we still have a reputation to uphold, ya know.