Via the equally genius-like Charlie Brooker at the Guardian, from his May 19th column:
“Most of the time, boring people are either a) unnoticeable or b) inoffensive. Or c) newspaper columnists. In any case, they’re usually easy to avoid. It’s only when you’re stuck in close proximity to them for an extended period that they truly cross the line from dreary to irksome. Taxis are a classic hot spot, as are long-haul flights. In the misery stakes, few things beat being stranded beside a determined-but-dull conversationalist on a 10-hour transatlantic crossing. Unless you find some polite way of shutting them up early on, you’ll be teetering on the verge of assault later.
The sensible method is to politely say, “Sorry, I’m a bit tired – do you mind if I just have a nap?” the minute they start talking, at the very start of the journey.
But that might seem snooty. Plus it’s vanilla and dull.
Instead, the best and most entertaining option is one I read about in a Penn & Teller book several years ago. It goes like this. Turn to your unwanted companion at the first opportunity, and explain to them that you have a condition which makes you sleep with your eyes open. It’s harmless, you say, but it can be quite creepy – so you’re taking the opportunity to warn them in advance so they don’t freak out later. Then you sit back in your chair and silently wait a while. After about 10 minutes, slowly loll your head sideways toward them, keeping your eyes wide open the whole time, and stay there, staring at the side of their face, for as long as possible. They’ll be far too weirded out to utter a word. Brilliant.”
It is. Here’s the link;