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View Full Version : The Prolix - How do you shut them up?


Uncle Fred
11th Aug 2011, 20:14
Most flights pass enjoyably. The conversations are good—sometimes excellent and as I have grown weary of my own thoughts after nearly a half-century on the planet it is more enjoyable to hear what others have to say. Learn, laugh, etc. are all part of a good con-fab and there are many. My colleagues are a diverse group and they have much of interest to relate.

Unfortunately for those of you however, who have spent any significant time on the flight deck of an airliner you have had experience with any number of them—the prolix. Just like a jazz man who can hear a chord and then improvisationally riff for the evening, these talkers think of a word or thought and then beat on about it for hours with the words pouring out in a verbal bulimia that has no start and unfortunately no finish. One thought pours into another with no rhyme or reason. You are held prisoner to their monologues that can last hours and days.

With age I have worked on little tricks to escape their uninteresting and non-stop drivel. Little mind games of thinking about something else to tune their blather out. Sometimes, when really not in the mood, I will simply tell them that their missives will surely go down in song and legend but can they cut to the chase?

This leads to four questions:

1. What, fellow Ppruners, are your strategies in putting a clamp on these verbal bulimics? How do you attack the problem? Short of telling the person to bugger off (which is hard whilst on board) what is one to do?

2. Is this just a cultural thing? I know that as an American we are often a bit too free in offering our opinions when silence (or better yet inquiry) would be a better thing but do those from Blighty, France, Italy etc. ever suffer this on the flight deck?

3. What are some of the horror stories about working with such bulimics?

4. Do these individuals have some sort of medical condition—a far offshoot of autism perhaps in that they cannot perceive how others are interacting with them—that we are staring out the window, buried in paperwork, or have not given a single indicator of interest—ever?

As the dotage approaches the more I am convinced that Aldous Huxley was correct when he said that the greatest challenge of the 20th century was to preserve silence.

Remember, if you are talking for more than 4 minutes without stop and it is not a formal lecture or teaching situation then time is up!

Tankertrashnav
11th Aug 2011, 20:16
Sorry Fred, I wasn't paying attention - what was that you were saying? ;)

BombayDuck
11th Aug 2011, 20:18
Yes. U-huh. Right, right. Hmm.

11Fan
11th Aug 2011, 20:22
Keep interrupting with "Was that for us?"

SpringHeeledJack
11th Aug 2011, 20:33
Too much prolix bolix by the sound of things...Maybe by being a good listener you've given the prolixer the feeling that you are interested in them and what they have to say, however inane :zzz: Better learn to say 121.5 brother!


SHJ

cavortingcheetah
11th Aug 2011, 20:45
My eldest son is in the habit of dropping 10 mgs of Diazepam in the first available drink he can get to offer them. He tells me it works well especially on London/Sydney flights when he is seated next to a prolix practitioner.

Cacophonix
11th Aug 2011, 20:50
Cavorting

Nice moniker, and, it is rumored, once a decent pilot, and not often prolix! What about the charge of being an out and out reactionary?

Caco

11Fan
11th Aug 2011, 20:50
eldest son is in the habit of dropping 10 mgs of Diazepam in the first available drink he can get to offer them. He tells me it works well especially on London/Sydney flights when he is seated next to a prolix practitioner.

Hopefully he's not in the left seat when he does that. :E

cavortingcheetah
11th Aug 2011, 21:31
Not at all, he's just a cabin steward who doesn't like particularly like flight crew especially if it's a prolix female.

Noah Zark.
11th Aug 2011, 21:33
As they begin their soliloquy, quietly repeat every fifth or sixth word that they are saying, but in a slightly disbelieving manner. It can be very irritating to the would-be orator and they might just sod off!

charliegolf
11th Aug 2011, 21:51
Send him down the back to check the tail. They always do that in the disaster films. Bound to break up his blather.

CG

cavortingcheetah
11th Aug 2011, 22:09
Thank you Noah Zark. I shall remember that trick. It must be the rising level of disbelief that could finally drive them to self harm?

con-pilot
11th Aug 2011, 22:12
Tell them it is their turn to wear the mask, then turn the intercom off. :p

11Fan
11th Aug 2011, 22:14
Tell them it is their turn to wear the mask, then turn the intercom off......or the O2

Noah Zark.
11th Aug 2011, 22:32
C Cheetah,
I'm not quite sure how it works, but give it a try with anyone you happen to be conversing with, just for a little experiment. When you've fine-tuned the technique a little, it can be very effective!
N.Z. :ok:

bar fly
12th Aug 2011, 10:37
I have only once had a trip where the other pilot was intolerable in 35 years of flying.


I hate to be the bearer of bad news BandAide, but it seems as though you may be the prolix.... :eek:

parabellum
12th Aug 2011, 12:49
More years ago than I care to remember I was on some kind of resistance to interrogation training, one trick we were told was to do the mental alphabet, listen to the talker, look for a word beginning with 'A', then 'B' etc. etc. and just tick them off, saying nothing, ignoring questions etc. just do the mental alphabet! Can work with wives too!;)

sisemen
12th Aug 2011, 16:48
Look them in the eye for a full 15 seconds (it takes that long for them to shut up and allow a decent period of silence) and then say...

"Shut the fcuk up. I've got a gun"

Works most times.

A A Gruntpuddock
12th Aug 2011, 17:05
Tell them 'I had one of these but the wheels fell off'. Shuts them up for a wee while as they try to make sense of that.

Uncle Fred
13th Aug 2011, 18:12
I hate to be the bearer of bad news BandAide, but it seems as though you may be the prolix.... http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/src:www.pprune.org/get/images/smilies/eek.gif

I hate to be unfair, but I have to admit that the same thought did cross my mind as well--either that or he led a very charmed career!

Slasher
13th Aug 2011, 22:57
I admit to blathering on a bit yonks ago when I was a FO, and
smart captains figured out they could shut me up for hours by
just giving me some porn mags.

onetrack
14th Aug 2011, 02:32
Asperger syndrome is a subtle complaint affecting quite a number of people, pilots included. It's not readily or easily recognised by those without extensive social experiences over a long time, or unless the person has a medical background.