ok, a couple of updates. first off, i hunted down a pretty nasty bug that was causing memory leak which lead to slow down and crashing of the game. you can download the fix from here: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=BZDT1YX2
replace the old files/folder with the new ones.
in addition to fixing the bug, it also has transparent cars. I used Noivern's suggestion of trying alpha instead of flags, and that looks better.
not included in the fix, i've changed the way you talk to people. as suggested by freeyourmind, it's a separate button. on the wiz/caanoo it's the R button (on the PC it's default T).
when you press the button a small menu displays the people who you can talk to, which will be anyone on screen other than the character you are currently controlling:
this will make it so you don't have to run around trying to get right on top of the person you want to talk to, and also makes it so you won't accidentally start talking to someone while you're trying to open a gate or hide.