Friday, July 10, 2009

"Mr. Ellipsis"

Pronunciation: \i-ˈlip-səs, e-\
Function: noun

1 a: the omission of one or more words that are obviously understood but that must be supplied to make a construction grammatically complete b: a sudden leap from one topic to another

2: marks or a mark (as …) indicating an omission (as of words) or a pause

*From the Merriam Webster online dictionary

Since I work at night, I have a tendency to overhear more conversations than I should. It is not so much a question of me eavesdropping, but more a phenomena of audio osmosis. People are either tired, drunk, high or any combination thereof. So just like teenagers at the movie theater or those loud idiots at restaurants, malls and street corners, I hear conversations as if everyone were on a cell phone.

Last night was unique, in that the conversation was fairly one-sided for nearly three minutes. There were two bicyclists walking down the stairs with their bikes; a young woman whom I will call "S," and a young man I will call "Mister Ellipis." "Why'd you call him that," you ask? It will be fairly obvious as I you read their conversation in quasi-screenplay form-

Babe, are you happy? Because I'm happy!
Mr. Ellipses
Babe, listen, are you happy? Because I'm happy!
Mr. Ellipses
Jane, get me off of this crazy thing!
Baby, I love you so much, do you love me? Because I love you!
Mr. Ellipses
If you have to ask him this many times and he hasn't
responded, then the answer is "no."
Babe, we're gonna be so happy together, I just
know we are! Right, babe?
Mr. Ellipses
Baby, did you hear me? I just know we're going to be happy.
Mr. Ellipses
Yeah...we are...going to be happy.

They had stood their bikes next to bench and then they sat down. He was lying face up in her lap, but he wouldn't look her in the eyes as she played with his hair. They were as close to an unrequited love as a couple could possibly be, while still technically being a couple.

I caught snippets of...

"We don't have enough space. I want my space, S."

"Sure babe, you can have your space, we can work this out. I can feel it."

...and silly variations of that.

Both of them were living in a separate world, and both of them were equally delusional as to what the other one was thinking. They are a young couple...hopefully she will move on. And more important, hopefully they won't make the mistake of marriage. If I were to judge them solely on the basis of those minutes that I spent watching them, he didn't respect her at all and she was giving him far more respect than he deserved.

Before you think I am being entirely too sympathetic to her, she was whining most of the time and no, the whining was not her regular voice.


rebecca said...

She seems very needy and he seems very uninterested. But I'm of the belief that that which is not meant to stay together will in time fall apart. Perhaps, he is not ready for such a commitment with anyone and she would fare better with one who enjoys being needed. Two totally different personalities I see here from the snippet you just gave. I wish them the best, I really do, because life is too short to be wasted on another who is not on the same page as you. It brings to mind a quote (and don't ask me who said it because I don't know): "don't make someone your number one priority when all he is to you is a convenience."

Craig Clarke said...

I can hear it now: "Sure I'll give you all the space you want. JUST DON'T LEAVE ME!"

BeckEye said...

I hate couples who feel the need to play out their drama in front of a completely uninterested real world audience. (Then again, you seemed awfully interested!)

SkylersDad said...

I work out every morning on one of them there Ellipis trainers!

Cormac Brown said...


"But I'm of the belief that that which is not meant to stay together will in time fall apart."

More often than not, that is true, yet sometimes couples stay together because of spite. Just look at any law enforcement reality show and eventually you'll see this as a recurring theme.

"don't make someone your number one priority when all he is to you is a convenience."

That is a wonderful quote.


Welcome and chances are you've got that right.


I hate it too and you know where I work, so sometimes I don't have a choice in the matter.

Sky Dad,

Oddly enough when I was looking up the best source for that definition, one engine asked me if I meant "elliptical."

David Cranmer said...

Mr. Ellipses and the lady are like so many young couples-doomed. You're right that she should move on but she probably won't until she's dumped or someone better comes along who will eclipse Ellipses.

Btw good dialogue re-enactment.

lakeviewer said...

Oh those snippets, little candid scenes to draw a whole life around. Good capture, Cormac.

Pyzahn said...

(Dissolve to black. Next scene is a close up of Mr. E tied up and crammed into an old trunk. Camera pulls back to see the trunk is perched on the edge of a cliff. His eyes are wide in terror.)

Young Woman: You want space? I'll give you space.

(YW closes lid of the trunk and pushes it off the edge and the trunk free falls into the abyss.)

Cormac Brown said...


"or someone better comes along who will eclipse Ellipses."


David and Rosaria,

That wasn't a "re-enactment" or a "capture," so much as a transcription...less the swearing that was going on in my head.


Heh-heh-heh, the best comment on this yet! You should've stayed out here and became a TV writer.

Bubs said...

You could have had a moment like the man in "It's a Wonderful Life" who yells at James Stewart to "kiss her instead of talking her to death", only your moment would have been much simpler.

Some Guy said...

Great post, CB! God bless the ellipsis. Every post I do has one.

Freida Bee, MD said...

I'll always associate ellipses with my mother who told me that my 8th grade English teacher gave the parents a quiz on Meet the Teacher Night, and the only one she missed was, "An ellipses sounds like __________." My mom answered "fun."

Incidentally, I just saw that one of the adjective forms of ellipsis is elliptical, meaning ~ "with a gap."

Cormac Brown said...


Unfortunately I've only seen parts here and there of "It's A Wonderful Life," and I doubt he would've gone for that, regardless of his inner motivation. Either he was playing up his indifference or it was all too genuine.


Absolutely, the ellipses are our friends.