Monday, 12 December 2016

Small Talk

You know what it's like. You get invited to a party, especially at this time of year with Christmas and the New Year celebrations, and you meet a lot of people, some you know already, and some you've never met before, and you wish you'd never met them anyway, and you all stand there with something to eat in your plate, and a glass of wine in the other hand, and you don't know whether to eat or drink because you do not have a third hand with which to do either, and you pretend to be interested in the other person as you make small talk with people who approach you and encroach your private space and ... I hate it.

I just do not like small talk. Whether it is to break the ice when I meet someone for the first time, or just to be pleasant and pretend to have something to say when in fact I have nothing to say at all, or when you approach me and what you have to say may be of interest to you but only succeeds in sending me to sleep which would be unfortunate since I am now holding a plate of food in one hand and a drink in the other which I would like to enjoy and if I fell asleep suddenly I would drop both to the floor and attract even more unwanted attention than the one I am having with you right now.

The other day at a party I was happily minding my own business and being totally unsociable as is my nature when I was approached by a man I had not met for some time and to be honest I could not remember his name, nor where I first met him, nor the circumstances through which we knew each other. Immediately my brain started working fast to remember his name or where I knew him from. Was he a business connection, I wonder? An old client perhaps? Or did I know him from church? Did I meet him at the golf club maybe, or does he work at the library perhaps? Where did I ever get to know him and what is his name?

He, however, seemed to know me well and started with "Hello ... long time no see ..."

"Lucky me!" I thought, "just go away!"

Fortunately, he could not hear my unwelcoming thoughts, so he went on: "How are you keeping these days?" he continued and then proceeded in discussing various members of my family, "how is ... these days? and is ... still at school? ... and how is your mom-in-law doing? ... and do you still work in London?"

"Who is this tediously boring man?" I thought, who seems to know so much about me, and I can't mention or remember anything about him or his family, if he has got one. Where have I ever had the misfortune of meeting him before?

Then came the small talk.

"Where do you work in London? Regent Park? ... oh yes ... I have a friend there called Marjorie Smith ... do you know her? Or is it Regent Street? Can't remember. Either of the two! She has three children; a boy and two girls. Although I'd imagine they're grown up now. She used to work near London Zoo. Do you know it? Of course you do ... everyone knows London Zoo. I went there last when they had the baby gorilla ... do you remember the baby gorilla?"

Now London happens to have more people living there than the whole of Scotland; and Smith happens to be one of the most common names in the UK; and Regent Street and Regent Park are two completely different places, how am I supposed to know this Marjorie Smith when I don't even know who you are? And I do wish I was in the company of a baby gorilla right now. He would certainly be more entertaining than you prattling on. And I can't be bothered listening to this man and his boring small-talk conversation any longer, and isn't life better when you are miserable and totally without prejudice since you dislike everyone equally?

At another party I was approached by a wonderfully beautiful woman I know well, wearing the most tight fitting dress a hundred sizes too small. The pretty black dress was as short as I can still remember, and it had a décolleté so low she might as well not have been wearing one!!! For some reason, she immediately caught my attention, and kept it caught for as long as she stood there beside me. She was the kind of woman whom every man would want to be talking to; and yet, there she was talking just to me.

She was holding a plate of chocolate cake which she teasingly played with with her fork and every so often she placed the tiniest morsel on her lips whilst making small-talk which certainly concentrated my attention at the time; although I can't now remember one word she said. My mind and eyes were elsewhere as I recall.

Anyway, as she was placing a piece of cake on her lips, she accidentally dropped a crumb on her breast and did not notice it. As she continued talking that tiny crumb seemed to come to life and slowly made its way one little step at a time down her breast.
 
Now what is the party etiquette in such circumstances of small-talk? Does one point at her breast and say there's a piece of cake there? Or does one pick it up with one's fingers? Or with a spoon perhaps, to avoid touching her? Or does one ignore it altogether and watch it make its way down and hide inside her dress?

I tried to make small talk and look her in the eye, but somehow this proved too difficult as my gaze kept going South. She eventually noticed my distraction and looking down her breast she picked up the tiny crumb before it disappeared out of sight. She laughed heartily and asked me what I would have done if it had gone down her dress. "I would have warmed the spoon first," was my quick reply.

So as you can gather, I hate small-talk and mingling at parties. I think when we meet someone we should go immediately to straight talking like "What do you think of this country's Gross Domestic Product compared to that of other European countries?" or "What would you do if reincarnation actually exists and you came back as yourself? Or a mosquito perhaps?" or "Do you ever re-cycle old jokes to entertain people or do you re-cycle yourself and send everyone to sleep?"

Those kind of straight questions, totally devoid of small-talk, would soon get any party going.

Personally, when I meet a woman at a party I often say, "That's a lovely pair of shoes you are wearing!" Especially if I am lying flat on the floor drunk at the time.

What sort of small talk do you use at parties?

18 comments:

  1. Hi Victor! A timely post for me. I just attended a Christmas party yesterday, and I was kind of dreading it. I think more and more, I'm becoming a social recluse. It turned out fine, I think my worry about it was worse than the reality.
    I am endlessly interested in people's stories, so as long as they'll talk about themselves, I'm fine. If the conversation switches over to me, I do stumble a bit.
    Sadly, the only wine available was chardonnay, which I do not like. Oh well. I got through without hitting the floor, which was probably good. Very good actually.
    Happy third week of Advent!
    Ceil

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    1. I know exactly what you mean, Ceil. People mingling and making small talk. Like you, I don't like it when they talk about me; especially when people know me and I don't know them; or can't remember who they are.

      Please return in a few days. I have another story about a Christmas party.

      Happy Advent to you and your family. God bless.

      Delete
  2. I do hate small talk and avoid those kind of dreaded venues like the plague ...

    ;-{

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    1. Glad you agree with me, Linda. I hate small talk that leads to nowhere. I often like to say: Is that you talking or is it the echoes of my mind?

      God bless you and your family, Linda.

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  3. I had rather eat a plate of poop than go to those holiday parties such as you describe. Have better things to do!
    Blessings!

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    1. I know what you mean, Lulu. But sometimes it is difficult to turn down an invitation; as you will see in my next story coming up.

      God bless you.

      Delete
  4. Imagine, for a moment, that instead of small talk, we all discussed Jesus at these parties!! Wouldn't that be wonderful! God Bless you!

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    1. Yes it would be wonderful, Michael. But Christians are few and far between. Sadly.

      God bless you too, my friend.

      Delete
  5. I hate the dishonesty and hypocrisy of such events, and I avoid them like the plague. I can't stand phonies and really dislike knowing I am talking to someone who is only talking to me because they feel they have to comply with some sort of obligation. I wholeheartedly agree with Michael. What if we discussed JESUS, the true reason for the season? What if we LIVED our lives focused on Him? What if we only did what Jesus did? What if we kept our minds on Him and eternity? Merry Christmas, Victor!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You're right, Cheryl. Unfortunately people are uncomfortable talking about Jesus. Did you know that in the UK it is frowned upon to talk religion at work; and you could be fired?

      Merry Christmas to you and yours; and God bless.

      Delete
  6. LOL, Victor. Hilarious. If I were to pick that crumb off her breast, I probably would have needed that divorce we argued over on the last post. Very funny.

    I must say, I do find your claim you're unsociable to be incredible. You are very sociable and I bet you love parties. ;)

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    1. Moi? Love parties? Oh non monsieur. I am totally unsociable and totally devoid of all prejudice; I dislike everyone equally.

      It's good to laugh, Manny. That crumb of cake kept moving slowly down her breast every time she breathed.

      You'll enjoy my next story about such parties - hopefully tomorrow.

      God bless you and your family.

      Delete
  7. I hate parties like poison and avoid them like the plague, and for that I'm now known as anti-social. I think that label is unfair. Most people have pet peeves and mine just happens to be that I hate crowds, am very self-conscious, and must have my tongue stapled to my teeth because of my tendency to say the wrong things due to stress! Oh, and I despise small talk, never been good at that.

    But on the rare occasion that I cannot escape an invite, I grab a plate and proceed to stuff my face just so I am occupied doing something. But if someone comes forward to chat, I'm pretty skilful at turning the conversation to the person. And then, I'm safe, because despite all the loud laughs and pompous conversation starters, many people are just lonely and hurting, and just need a place to rest their hearts for a while.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. That last bit is certainly true. Many people are, as you say, lonely and hurting, and just need a place to rest their hearts for a while. I really feel sorry for them. At parties I tend to introduce them to other lonely and hurting people so they can bother each other and leave me alone.

      Only joking ... honestly ... just joking.

      God bless you, Caitlynne.

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    2. Whatever you say, Victor, I know that if you are invited to parties, it is for that luminescence that lives in your beautiful heart. People may not know it, but their spirit would be aware that you carry in you a Light their souls need :)

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    3. What a lovely thing to say. Thank you Caitlynne. You are a very kind and thoughtfull person. May God bless you and your family always.

      Delete
  8. "and you pretend to be interested in the other person as you make small talk with people who approach you and encroach your private space and ... I hate it."

    Forgive me Victor #1 but I find "IT" hard to believe that you would pretend to like anyone especially with you being so close to God's Shepherd, "I" meant 'Father Ignatius'... I'm sure that you would probably find a way to tell him and/or her a few good stories about "Jesus"... Right? LOL

    Happy third week of Advent.

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    1. Only joking ... honest!

      Best wishes to you and your family, Victor, for Advent, a Blessed Christmas and a Splendid New Year.

      God bless.

      Delete

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