i talk a lot.no, no, you don’t understand. i talk a lot. i’m not sure what exactly it is i’m always talking about. someone, one of andy’s friends i think, once said, “alison does talk a lot. but it’s okay, because she always has something to say.” that’s good, i guess. but i wonder about when i don’t talk. there have been a few times, lately, when i’ll be in a big group of people, just sitting there listening to billy and dave and jeremy go on about video games while ben plays one on the playstation, or listening to megan laugh as max and chris argue over top gun trivia what was goose’s wife’s name and no you can’t say meg ryan. those times, i forget that i’m not talking. though i’m not participating vocally, i’m still mentally engaged in the conversation, laughing at jokes, thinking about what’s being said. eventually, someone looks at me and says alison why don’t you shut up, you’re talking too much or hey alison are you okay. when they do this, i’m suddenly aware that i really haven’t been talking, that i can’t remember the last time i said anything at all. but i still felt like i was talking. tuesday night at lola’s, after they kicked us all inside from the patio at 1:30, i was standing there with andy or trina or shaun or daniel or todd or whatever combination of people made up that evening’s bar leftovers. sipping my vodka tonic, slowly and unintentionally getting drunk, i moved away from everyone and leaned against the wall next to the counter, with the air conditioning blowing directly in my face. for a full fifteen minutes i watched a few tough-looking leather guys play a rather sophisticated game of pool. i really enjoy pool, and i forget how much i miss it until i watch someone else play. i was so into the game that i became annoyed every time someone walked in between me and the table, blocking my vision. it ended when the guy in the ripped polo shirt banked the eight off the far wall and into the corner pocket. “nice shot,” i murmured to myself. “yeah, it was,” someone said near me, and i jumped. it was one of the other players, his bald head covered with a black leather scarf. he smiled at me, grabbed his beer, and went to put more quarters in the machine. until he’d said something to me, i’d forgotten that i wasn’t playing the game myself.