A couple veer off to the side because that riveting story about how your Tupperware seems to be disappearing reminded some other members of the group of a much more interesting story about their incredible post-laundry sock-retention rate. So they split off, and all others quickly follow suit -- except for one. This one person is the speaker's lifeline. This person is the tiny outcropping of rock they cling to as they try not to slide down a mountainside and fall off a cliff.
As the group members mentally check out of the conversation, the speaker's eyes will dart from one person to another, looking for someone still paying attention. For a fleeting moment, they were the conversation rock star, sexually punishing everyone's brain-groupies. Now they've been demoted to playing strip mall grand openings and corporate pow-wows, hoping a tiny fraction of the attention they held just moments ago will return.
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"Hello, Sherbury Outlet Mall! Are you ready for SAVINGS?!"
In some cases, you can even see a process of elimination occur. As their social panic attack grows, they shift their focus to someone new as each previous person stops caring, then another and another, all in the hope that someone will stop making them feel like a loser. It's painful to watch -- almost as painful as ...