Don’t you just hate this bit? The whole ‘getting to know you’ nonsense?
Yet, social convention dictates that we go through the wearisome business of awkward smalltalk, embarrassed half-smiles and long silences. A weird mixture of nervous excitement and barely-disguised reluctance.
We play with our food and wonder why we’re here, then smile sheepishly and plough on, negotiating the minefield of our fledgling relationship.
If only it could be easier…
Skip the smalltalk and get straight to the point.
After all, that’s really why we’re both here, isn’t it?
Can’t we just fast-forward straight to the sex?
Small talk is such an effective way of getting to know people, he thought. The event was promoted as an informal get-together to meet your soulmate. He needed a soulmate, desperately. After the usual introductions and polite smiles, the whole conversation took an unexpected turn when one of the ladies said she enjoyed being tossed in the river. At first, he didn’t understand what she meant. He laughed nervously and he noticed she did have a strange color. “It’s the river,” she said. “Too much pollution.” He nodded. Let’s just say he didn’t find his soulmate. He wasn’t that desperate.
Smalltalk: Because what else is there to do while you wait?
At first, it was the embarrassing silence, feet shuffling, staring into the middle distance; then as seconds turned into minutes, and minutes into hours, the need to talk became overwhelming.
We talked about the weather, our jobs and families, the state of the economy – anything really – just to fill the time.
And, eventually, the allotted hour came… And went.
I gave it a little longer: More smalltalk. And honestly, I’ve enjoyed getting to know you.
But really, we were only killing time.
And now, it’s time to kill you.
I would like to say I don’t do small talk, but the truth is I will talk to anyone about anything. The least important the better. God knows the weight of the world’s problems are heavy enough to pitch one into a blackhole death-sprial of ennui. The key to quatlity small talks is raising or lowering the scope of ones replies. Best when in counter point to the direction of the conversation. Just enough to cause a gap, but not so much to cause a gasp. And remember to be galactically unforgettable, with a comely smile. Have a nice day.
Sitting with his parents in the diner, Billbert thought about making small talk. After the catastrophe of their house burning down random talking seemed, trite.
“Mom. Dad,” Billbert began. When they stopped eating and looked at him, he continued. “Are you two in shock? Our house just burned down, and you don’t seem that upset.”
His mother nodded. “I’d forgotten how young you were the last time something like this happened. Don’t worry. Everything important, pictures, documents, and that, were all just copies. The originals are stored in a secure location. It takes a little time, but, we’ll start over.”
Ears Wide Open
Jimmy Alvarez had a gift, early on everyone thought it was ADD, and they weren’t entirely wrong, but, what it was … was a gift … More like a superpower.
Jimmy had an amazing sense of hearing!
He could hear whispers at incredible distances.
He could listen to conversations through walls, doors, and glass …
And he could focus in on one conversation out of 20 he could hear at will.
None of that mattered much until he started keeping a notebook.
Combinations to locks
There was power … and opportunity in such things.
Jimmy’s future looked promising!
“Hi. I’m James.”
“Hello, James. I’m Natalie.”
“Nice to meet you, Natalie. How do you know The Taylors?”
“I work with Michael. You?”
“I used to be their brother-in-law.”
“…Used to be… How does that work?”
“I used to be married to Lonni’s sister Lisa.”
“Why don’t you say you’re her sister’s ex-husband?”
Two reasons: I like Mike & Lonni. Saying it my way keeps the relationship focused on them.”
“OK. And the second?”
“If I had said ‘I’m Lonni’s sister’s ex-husband’, odds are you wouldn’t have been interested in much conversation beyond that. I wanted to increase my odds.”
When midgets talk to each other, is it all smalltalk?
Not in the Department of Midget Science at MIT, the Midget Institute of Technology.
It’s all big talk. Cosmic-level stuff.
Even the talk about sub-atomic particles is big talk.
They get a lot of stuff done, and they do it so efficiently.
Not needing big offices and big blackboards and big laboratories.
Even their supercolliding supercollider takes up just a parking lot’s space.
They smash particles and discover the secrets of the universe.
Then they all get ice cream at the commissary and publish their papers and cheer big cheers.