Friday, May 22, 2009

Small Talk

I'm not a big fan. Of small talk, that is. I am happy to sit in silence, as long as I'm comfortable with the people I'm with. That is not to say that I don't yammer on about senseless things from time to time (e.g. my entire blog), but overall, I'd rather not discuss the weather or comment on how terrible or wonderful the latest news story is. I used to work with a couple of people, P and L, and one time I heard P ask L what she brought for lunch that day. Her strained reply was, "Does it really matter?" I totally get that. I find it tiring to answer an irrelevant question to which the reply is meaningless even to the person who asked it. I do my best to avoid such conversations, but sometimes weird ones sneak up on me. One time I was walking my dog and saw my dentist jogging towards me. This sounds a little odd but we used to live in the same area, and he does run everyday. Anyhow, I just gave a wave, not wanting to converse for the sake of an out of context run-in, and figuring that he would motor on by, but he decided to slow down enough such that he could tell me that he felt terrible. "Oh...thats...not...good....", was the reply that I stammered as he continued on out of earshot. What else could I say? I didn't even ask!!! Even if I had asked, his duty was to tell me that he felt fine, right? This was an outright small talk violation! I had another weird one today too.

Today I was at the vet's for a check up for one of my dogs. I always seem to be at the vet's for one reason or another, so I do feel a certain amount of familiarity with the people who work there, but typically we talk shop, or in my case, dogs. This falls in the category of acceptable small talk for me. During the check-up, Dr. B was making a fuss over my dog who was being calm, and cute, and all things doggie. Then she asked me if the dog was good with the kids, which gave her the segue that she needed to talk about her own kids, despite my not having asked. She has an 18 year old son who dropped out of school, and who isn't working. She said that he has mental issues, but added that he is seeing a psychiatrist and is trying to work through this. She then went on to give me examples of the things that he did as a child that foreshadowed his current behaviour and OMG ISN'T THIS A LOT OF INFORMATION TO BE GIVING AN ALMOST STRANGER??? "Uhhhh, good luck with that" was all I could come up with as a reply. Then I went to the front desk to pick up a prescription for some doggie meds and explained to the clerk that having it filled at a drug store works out to be more than 60% cheaper than buying the drugs directly from the vet (don't tell me that I never give you any useful information), and this spawned another insanely long conversation about her cat, and its problems, and how expensive its treatment was, and how she had just started working at suchandsuch a place which allowed her to finance the treatment for her cat so that she didn't have to put it down, and so yes, it is important to try to keep vet bills down. Did I bring that on myself? Stop talking already!

Isn't it ironic that the the longest post I've written in ages is about my distaste for small talk?


petite gourmand said...

isn't the weather beautiful today?

did I mention my annoyingly happy neighbour is a vet?
hey, maybe she is on kedamine...just a thought.

Chantal said...

I have had this happen to me too. I am not very good at small talk, especially with strangers and when it does happen I am usually taken aback. I wonder if people just randomly dump this stuff on anyone then happen across, or do I have a face that begs them to tell me things I should not know.