“They were just laughing and laughing; made me want to slap them upside the head if you know what I mean?” he didn’t look up from what he was reading and I had no idea of what he might be talking about.
“You wanted to hit them on the side of the head with your open hand?” I said just to make conversation.
“What?” he looked up from his book and gave me a puzzled look.
“Slap upside the head,” I clarified.
“Oh,” he shook his head like he was trying to clean his brain of foolishness. “In this book, this author has everyone laughing at everything – they sound like complete fools,” he held the paperback in one hand and waved it around while he talked.
“So…read something else?”
‘“I’ve never not finished a book after reading more than a couple pages. It’s a commitment. If you’re going to start something you should finish it. My dad taught me that, he was a very responsible person. Raised my three sisters and me, never complained a day in his life; at least not about having to take care of us. Hard work, out in the hot sun, they used to start at four in the morning during the summer! He said, “Finish what you start!’”
“I’m sure he wasn’t talking about that book,” I pointed at the book, which took a little effort as it was still waving around in circles.
“Slippery slope,” he said like it was the answer to end all answers, “slippery slope that’s all.”
“Tell me more about this incline with limited traction,” I had completely lost interest in the conversation but if I kept him talking I would have to do less.
“Slippery slope,” I stated without giving it a thought.
‘“Deciding what things need to be finished and what things can be left unfinished. Where does it end? It makes the whole, “finish what you started” thing meaningless! Changes it to, “finish what you want to” and what kind of sense does that make?”’
“I got to go. Good to see you again,” I stood and offered him my hand to shake. He took my hand by the fingers and did a limp fish shake.
“You going to finish your coffee?” he asked.