For about an hour, this morning, over approximately two and a half cups of tea, a diary, and a red pen, I organised my email inbox at work. Now, I don’t mean to suggest that I got all Soviet on it and instigated a mass purge. Oh no. Rather, I made new email directories. And not just for each book on which I work, but also different systems used at our company, odd quirks that could come up as a potential query from someone, and even a ‘Useful Advice from My Boss’ directory. Because sometimes my boss says really useful things that are worth remembering.
So now I have 43 work-related email directories that I can access. 43.
I feel like I ought to go and do something completely immature and irresponsible to compensate for this judiciously adult-like undertaking. Perhaps today is a good day to wander into an arcade hall with a pocket full of coins …
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.