You will fake yawn to excuse yourself from conversational involvement if only for a few seconds. If you’re lucky, the intended person will suddenly have the urge to yawn as well, and will do so, excusing herself, and incidentally you too, for a few more seconds. Her real yawn will have the same, real effect on you, seeing as your first yawn was fake, and this will excuse you both for a few more seconds. There. A good twenty seconds down the drain. That wasn’t so hard was it? Sometimes you will simply walk up to someone you recognize, yawn back and forth a few times, then be on your separate ways. Other times, when at a loss for adroit conversation, you will ask, “What day is it?” or “Is it Tuesday?” or something similar, though you know perfectly well what day it is. The intended effect being the impression that your life is crazy enough to have forgotten the day, or at the very least, that you aren’t one of those pencil-pushing stiffs who keeps a personal organizer, or whatever those are called. It’s also a very simple question to answer that will give a minute sense of satisfaction to the other person for being helpful. Of course, you will have no idea if these gimmicks work, but at least it’s one less thing to worry about.
Tanner Carlos Hadfield is an MFA student at CU boulder, where he teaches introductory creative writing and edits an art zine, No Name Zine, among other things.