The Smallest Words

Small talk. I’m just not very good at it. My friend Queen Gen and I recently discussed this. See, Queen Gen isn’t very good at talking to strangers. As she explained in her post:

“I don’t know how to come up with things to say on the spot and I have to rehearse any impending conversations with strangers to make sure I know exactly what I need to say because otherwise I trip over my words and get completely lost.”

She asked if anyone else had similar problems. And, to a degreee, yes, even yours truly has a problem with talking to random strangers. But it’s not the random strangers that’s the problem, it’s the time constraints.  My take on this, as an English-speaking person of Russian upbringing goes something like this:

I have a problem similar to Queen Gen’s problem. But with small talk. When I’m at work sometimes, I take this old scary cargo lift that should have been decomissioned back in 1843. Sometimes people get in, and I’m terrified, because I have no idea what the hell to say. So I say the obvious thing I always think when I enter these scary lifts:

“One day we’re all going to plummet to our deaths in this box.”

Well what the hell else are you going to say? There’s this strange need in the Western world to say *something* but small talk terrifies me because I don’t understand its purpose nor how to do it. So I have to say something intensely true and real instead.

Even us extroverted types find ourselves in situations where we just wonder what the hell should fly out of our mouths. And obviously, what shouldn’t. Though by the time we’ve gotten that far, it’s already too late. And because Russians don’t do small talk (it’s just not something that’s native to us) I find small-talk relentlessly terrifying, because it makes no sense.

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Filed under Eluding all possible understanding, Telling stories

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