I have to relinquish my crown. I was formerly under the impression that I was the queen most accomplished individual when it came to ending conversations. I've been known to say sometimes random and totally unrelated things in the middle of conversations, thus causing them to pause, or else end entirely. It's just a weird little quirk of mine. Tonight, however, I realized I was in the presence of a master conversation killer. In the form of an older sibling. I've known the kid for a lifetime, and have finally figured out the trick to his trade. Whereas I tend to spout out something mundane or off-topic, he relies on only one line:

You know what I mean?

I can't say quite why, but I get really, really fucking annoyed by this. We have our differences as it is, and this just tends to irritate things for me. Why don't I illustrate with an example? I can't think of a good reason not to, so here goes. The following example happened tonight while we were out bowling.

< awkward conversation>

I forget how it actually got to this point, but I mentioned that I'm currently reading The Kite Runner. The hermano has never heard of it, so I was trying to explain it a little bit.

Phil: So I'm reading The Kite Runner. Brother: Never heard of it. What's it about? Is it, like, about what it's like there right now? Phil: It's a story set in Afghanistan. It follows the life of a boy as he grows up there. Brother: Oh. Phil: It also touches a lot on the culture and the way of life in the country. You learn about the two main differences in class, and how one is not considered truly "Afghan", and so is treated as less than human. Brother: Yeah. What's sad is that really goes on, you know what I mean?

< /awkward conversation>

The word sad always seems to preface the impending communication homicide. And somehow, the word and its related phrase seem to find their way into every single interaction we have. So, in the example mentioned above, here's what happened:

I responded with a scathing "Yes, I know what you mean, that's exactly what I just said. Hello!" And promptly went to talk to someone else. It seems it's something of a familial thing in my family, to take what one person says ("one person" being me) and turning it into their own. That last comment from my brother can be translated thusly:

"Phil, did you know that Afghanistan had two groups of people, and one of the groups treated the other group like shit because the ones in power felt that the others were inferior? It's true. That's, like, totally horrible, you know what I mean?"

I don't know where I'd be without such conversation. For one thing, I'd probably know nothing about the world around me. And I wouldn't have the slightest clue as to why I used Lee Michaels' name in the title of this blog entry. But i might laugh at that anyway, since I would assume that it was meant to be witty or funny.