Small talk makes the big world a smaller, cozier, more manageable place.
I love on-line small talk. I love to chat with people on Twitter and through the comments on my blog. But in the real world, small talk makes me break out in hives. It makes me extremely nervous because, oh glory be!! What if there is a silence?! It will be awkward! And then I will have to fill it up! And oh the pressure to think of something to say! Something pithy and funny, something that makes sense outside of my own head?! (screaming inside head: aaaahh! haaaaaallllpp! Beam Me Up!)
On-line I can just walk away and hide under the bed whereas it’s really bad form to vaporize in real life.
I’ve noticed that senior citizens, the FDR generation, excel at small talk. I don’t know if they are just friendlier or if you just get friendlier with age. Or maybe you just have more time to be friendly. I don’t know, but I suspect it’s all of the above.
My parents and my in-laws will talk to anyone at anytime about anything. And not just the perfunctory “Hello, how are you,” but they take time to engage strangers and swap stories and get to know them, trade colonoscopy stories.
My mom flies out to Texas several times a year and every time I pick her up at the airport, she has made a new friend on the plane, she’s hugging them goodbye at the gate and wishing them luck, they’ve traded emails and are planning to vacation together.
The last time I picked her up, she had met a nice young man who is getting out of the military, he is hoping to become a police officer… he was on his way to see his… he’d never been to Texas before… his wife’s name was… and she has asthma… he grew up in….
I probably would not want to sit next to my mother on an airplane.
One time when both of my parent’s were visiting, we went to the mall. My dad usually finds a park bench outside the store while mom and I go in and browse. When we came out he was talking to another man, also wearing Hushpuppies, a Members Only jacket and newsboy cap. It seems the other man was here visiting his daughter too… he lives in Ohio and has two boys and two girls and seven grandchildren and his wife name is… and he was in the army stationed in… and can’t play golf anymore because of his bursitis and…
I think small talk makes the world a better place. I just prefer mine in an electronic format.
* * * * *
Do y’all read Bub and Pie? If I were held at gunpoint and forced to pare down my Bloglines to 10 blogs, hers would be one I couldn’t cut loose. Anyway, she posted about small talk today too, so go check out her perspective and leave her some comment love while you’re there.