A mostly remembered report of a recent conversation:
Him: Of course I know your work. At one point, I used to love your reviews.
Me: [Awkward smile, with the mind furiously latching on to “used to.”] Thanks.
Him: At that time there was no one else writing like you.
Me: [Awkward smile continuing, with the mind now working over “at that time.”] Thanks.
Him: What happened yaar?
Me: What do you mean?
Him: Nowadays I don’t read your reviews. They’re too full of…
Me: [Please, God, please – don't complete that sentence with “yourself.”]
Him: … metaphysical meaning.
Me: [Phew, dodged a bullet there. Awkward smile, needless to say, continues.]
Him: I’m an ordinary guy. I’m a mass reader. If you don’t write for me, you’re dead.
Me: [Awkward smile. A slight pause.] So, you watch a lot of movies?
PS: Names have been changed to protect the privacy of people.
PPS: No animals were harmed during the making of this conversation.