Now as a general rule, I don't want to talk to anyone for any reason. Waiting around in public is probably the only time I would consider wearing a VR headset -- I would totally strap a Virtual Boy to my skull for a 30-second elevator ride if for no other reason than to discourage other people from speaking to me. I feel like a bulky, face-obscuring helmet is the only way to get that particular message across, because in my experience, a laptop, a book, or even a giant pair of headphones doesn't do much to thwart aggressive conversationalists, who have no idea how to be by themselves for an hour.
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"In case my body language is unclear, I am listening to antisocial music while literally thinking of everything else I would rather do than speak to you."
So despite all of your best efforts, people are going to try to exchange pleasantries with you, because it starts to feel horrifyingly awkward if everyone is standing around making occasional eye contact and refusing to speak to each other, as if we're all trapped in a Pink Floyd video and trying to avoid drawing the attention of the giant animated hammers. For the socially awkward person, there are two ways to handle these unsolicited conversations -- babble incoherently like Brad Pitt's character from Twelve Monkeys and shouting out answers on Family Feud, or power down like the Terminator after the T-1000 stabbed a metal javelin through his robot heart.
Now, with option one, there are basic conversational destinations that should become apparent depending on whatever public waiting situation you are currently in. If you're on an airplane, you and your seatmate are obviously going to the same place, so you could ask them something about where you're both headed, like, "I hear they have squids in San Diego. Just the biggest squids you've ever seen. Is that true?" Or, if you're waiting in line for a movie, you're obviously all about to start watching the same movie, so a statement like, "I heard there's graphic male nudity in this movie. Like, enough so that you can literally see Channing Tatum's pulse in his fully erect penis," would not be out of place. Waiting in line to buy the next Apple product? This is an opportune time to tell everyone about the paper mache Steve Jobs that guards your mailbox and the haunting way his eyes follow you to your car every morning.
"Boy howdy, new friends! The things we have in common are just impossible to count!"