My Neighbour Errol- Serious Talks
Believe it or not, Errol has the ability to be quite serious.
There we will be, chatting away when suddenly he will pause for a moment. Then, quite out of the blue, he will open up and want to talk about serious life issues or philosophy or simply vent about something that’s been on his mind. He will say surprisingly profound statements, speaking in a quiet, serious tone that doesn’t often come out.
Then he will burp. Loudly. And wonder why I haven’t offered to buy him wings.
Sometimes I will be feeling down about life or because I’ve had a particularly tough week or because I’m a sucky writer and don’t deserve happiness and Errol will be there with sage advice in an attempt to pep talk me back into a good mood.
Then he will scream out “POOOOOR PAN PANS! ALL ALONE WITH NO MEN TO CUDDLE!” even though the conversation had nothing to do with that.
Sometimes even, he will open up about his own feelings, speaking up about his past experiences with bullying or being an outcast. I will offer some comforting words back, telling him how awesome he is.
Then he will yell out that he’s married and it’s not right for me to want him like that. Then, seeing the horrified look on my face, he laughs. A lot.
You see a pattern emerging here.
It’s as though there are two Errol’s . There is Serious Errol, who takes up about 20% of Errol’s brain space. He is able to come out every once in a while for about five minutes at a time.
After five minutes, Crazy Manipulative Teasing Happy Errol takes over and the world is topsy turvy once again.
There’s no transition either. It’s a complete 180. It’s not like I get some sort of warning that Serious Errol is done talking now. One moment we are contemplating life, the universe and everything. The next he is farting into the phone, wondering if I can hear it. No, seriously.
Sometimes the entire conversation just resets. We will be talking about something fairly serious and then he will just shout out “Pans!” and continue on about eggs or how awesome his wife is or how we should play Terraria as if the previous conversation did not happen. They key seems to be shouting someone’s name. It’s like there’s a saturation point for serious talk and then brain just resets itself.
It makes conversation rather schizophrenic and has only increased my paranoia over the last few months.
Oh, Errol is saying something serious. Does he mean it? Is this a trick? Is he just revving up for a tease extravaganza? Or is he actually being serious? How long do I have? What do I say? What will trigger Crazy Manipulative Teasing Happy Errol? Don’t compliment him, he will accuse you of seducing him. But maybe I should, he actually looks down. No, don’t! It’s a trap! Is it? Am I a bad friend?
And so on.
It could be a number of thoughts that triggers crazy happy Errol. A person wearing a Totoro t-shirt. Eggs (the man’s love of eggs knows no bounds). Juice. Lego. Toys. Cartoons like Gravity Falls. ANY games, board or video.The word bounce. Pho. Bacon. My reactions to anything. Whatever it is, he will suddenly switch over, yelling like crazy, laughing, teasing. I am practically knocked from my chair from the force of the excitement.
And then, just like that, he is abruptly back to Serious Errol. I am sitting there, shell shocked from the FIRST abrupt shift in tone and had just adjusted to crazy times and suddenly I have to switch back to serious talk time. You remember that scene in Lord of the Rings where Gollum talks to Smeagol. It’s just like that. Except there’s another person in the room, and she never knows when Smeagol is going to be chased away.
Were I a less lazy person, I might actually attempt to scientifically study the patterns and habits of Serious Errol. There would be charts and graphs, focus groups, big science-y looking brain readers that would take down data.
But alas, I am lazy. And also frightened at what ACTUALLY happens in that brain.