Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How about that weather?

Small talk. We use it every day. I find it intriguing. And amusing. Every time I walk into a client's house, I have to come up with something to say. I mean, it takes at least a little time to get settled in. Winter is the best time for this, especially this winter. Every week I can come in and say clever things like, "Staying warm?" and "How'd you like that blizzard?" Their answer doesn't really matter. Same with anyone with whom you engage in small conversations. It's a space-filler, the polite thing to do.

People have varying degrees of skill at small talk. I'm not the greatest at it. I end up with a lot of awkward pauses. Some people are okay. With another mediocre to excellent small talker, they'd be just fine, hold their own. Put me with someone who doesn't talk much, and we spend a lot of time staring at each other, would could be romantic in the right situation until you realize we are both just trying to figure out what to say next that won't sound idiotic. Not that it works. It always sounds dumb. Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of things pop into my head to say. However, if I am just doing small talk I don't tend to let the crazy out. There are people who are amazing small talkers. My sister in law, for example, can talk to anyone about anything for any length of time. She comes up with insightful questions and keeps people talking. It's amazing to watch, impossible for me to emulate. Then there are those people who are oversharers. They are the ones who skip the small talk and go straight for the emotional conversation. The lady sitting next to you in the waiting room who says hello and launches into a story about her itchy rash in delicate places. The one in the rest room who goes on a rant against her husband and talks about how she only stays with him for the kids. The people who divulge every miniscule detail of their life, their entire schedule, anything you could possibly think of. These people can certainly hold their own in conversation, but are usually pretty domineering and do not listen to what the other person is saying, which defeats the purpose of a "conversation."

This topic, random as it is, reminds me of something even more random that I wrote for one of my novels. Here is an amusing (if I do say so myself) little excerpt:

Frankie bypassed the elevator and headed for the stairs. Ronnie was on the fourth floor, but elevators meant being awkward with people you didn't know. Frankie categorized "elevator people" into three categories: comfortably awkward, awkwardly awkward, and annoyingly awkward. The comfortably awkward people were those who could ride up and down on elevators all day and not utter a word. They were never totally relaxed, but they would stare straight ahead or at the digital floor display, pretending no one else in the elevator existed. The awkwardly awkward people would visibly show their insecurity. They would fidget and peek at people from the corners of their eyes, open their mouths as if to say something, then quickly look away if anyone looked back. They were the throat clearers and the sniffers. The annoyingly awkward people were those who tried to make whatever lame conversation they could on the short ride between floors. They would ask the questions that people in normal society would be embarrassed to ask, such as, "Who are you visiting?" "What's wrong with them?" "How long do they have to be here?" A subgroup of the annoyingly awkward people were those who attempted to tell their life story unsolicited to the entire elevator population. They would continue on as people got on and off, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they had an entirely new group of people with them than when they started. These were often the people who also forgot to get off at their floor. "Goodness me! I should have gotten off two floors ago! Can you press the three for me, dearie?" Yes, Frankie much preferred the stairs. When she had to take the elevator, such as when she bringing contraband food or presents to Ronnie, she liked to make up stories for the annoyingly awkward people. "Oh, I'm visiting my sick grandma, they say she'll die any day now," or, "Yeah, my twelve year old sister just had triplets! I'm hoping she'll let me keep one!" Things like that usually got them to be quiet for a bit. Frankie's parents would die of shame if they knew some of the things she had told the elevator people. Anything but the truth, that was Frankie's motto, at least when it came to elevators.

Ta da. The end. Of the snippet.

In other news, I go to the cities tomorrow, fly to Miami Friday, and set sail on my cruise on Saturday! Woohoo! I got some good news and bad news yesterday regarding my cruise. First, a lady called and asked if I wanted to upgrade to a bigger room with a window for a low low price. So that ws exciting. Then I got an email letting me know that our cruise itinerary had changed. Due to problems with the propulsion system or some such thing, we are no longer going to Jamaica and Grand Cayman, but to Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico. Now, don't get me wrong, I know we'll have fun, but I am disappointed. We purposely chose a cruise that didn't go to Mexico. I haven't been there, but Angie has. Oh well. It'll be good. I'm hoping to see some ruins at least. I'm history nerd.

Prepare for a trip review when I get back in a week or so! Hasta luego, mis amigos!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting insights on the small talk & elevator people. I enjoyed your snippet, you should let me read the whole thing sometime! :)