Wednesday, October 17, 2012

You Too!

I am a moderately well spoken individual. I don't say things like, "I done seen them two times today," or, "I ain't got no books," or, "she don't need to study grammar." I do not, in short, sound like I fell off the turnip truck. Because let's face it, no matter the content, if you have a super thick country accent, you sound stupid. You could be explaining quantum physics and sound like a complete mo-ron if you hillbilly it up.

So, I have that going for me.

What I do not seem capable of doing is engaging in small talk. I cannot seem to string together a series of pleasantries in a way that doesn't make me sound like an idiot, or an asshole, or both.

I recently ran into an acquaintance who'd started a new job out here in the county.

"Hey! Hey! Are you out here slumming across the river? Heh-heh."

I don't know what I meant by that, really. Like his job was shitty? Like the location was? I immediately became uncomfortable, and he responded -

"Well, it's a nice place, and a good job."

And I, with all the wisdom of my years, said -

"At least you'll stay dry!"

I have no idea what I meant by that. Stay dry? <i>What</i>? And then, to further solidify my position as a complete imbecile, as I left I shouted, "Enjoy the weather today!"

Inside that building that you're sitting in. With no windows. Enjoy it!

Sean and I call it the 'you, too!', after a routine by comedian Brian Regan. Go ahead and watch it if you don't know what I'm talking about.

I live in fear of running into casual acquaintances. Because of the size of our town, and the stores I frequent (a constant rotation of grocery store-Costco-library-Target), it happens often. I spent two hours in Costco yesterday, one hour shopping and one hour ducking people. It's not that I don't want to see them, it's that I know I'm going to have to make small talk and will almost certainly say something ridiculous.

If not ridiculous, completely inappropriate. I don't know how many times I've verbally assaulted someone with details of my bowels or the fact that I hadn't taken a shower or the time I stuck a fetal pigs tail in it's own anus (regrettably true). It's like my brain takes a complete shit and dumps out the first random thing that surfaces.

"Hey, Kelly! How's it going?"

"Hey, good! I had too much coffee and I am going to poop my pants!"

It's a wonder people still talk to me in public.

Maybe I should get some little cards to hand out, like the folks at the airport. <i>I am a shitty conversationalist. If you choose to engage, please be aware that I may randomly mention my bodily functions and slightly, unintentionally, insult you</i>.

I envy my husband, who is glib and relaxed, and welcomes random interactions in public places. I have stood by his side countless times, grinning like a fool and sweating profusely while he has a completely normal conversation with someone he barely knows. I don't know how he does it. I remain silent until the very end, when at last it's my moment to shine.

"Good to see you again," they say. "Tell your kids I said hello!"

I smile and wave and all out shrilly, <i>"You, too!"</i>


  1. You're crazy. But suddenly, so much makes sense...

  2. I love reading about this side of you and I can't wait to see you randomly out. I'll be at target tomorrow with Micah ;)

  3. I am SO "laughing out loud"!!!!

  4. You make me feel so normal in Target now , thank you Kelly hey did I tell you that I just peed my pants waiting for the lady to pull her childs pants up in the only available stall?? yes now I am distracted by needing a dry pair of pants & I know you have noticed so instead of letting you think the worst I will just tell you it already ughhh why??? Wonder if there is a small talk help class held.??

  5. You are not alone in your ability to embarrass yourself in a few short words!

  6. I have always been at a loss as to what to say after saying hello. Brian Regan is one of my favorites. He makes me cry/laugh as did you in this post.
    I rarely leave comments on blog posts, even when I enjoy the posts, because it feels the same way small talk does. "That was really good. I liked it a lot."

  7. Oh honey. We need a support group where we can all holler inappropriate things at each other. You should see the wart that has sprung up on my finger.

  8. I'm not a small talker either. If I'm going to bother to open my mouth, then I want a real discussion. I sympathize with you and your difficulty.


  9. Yeah, I suck at small talk in public... or anywhere really. You'll usually find me staring longingly off into the distance where I wish I were while nodding and saying completely vapid things like "Right on!" and "You betcha!" with my best Sarah Palin accent.

  10. I have this problem, too.

    "Hey, how's it going?"

    "Well, my cat won't stop shitting outside the box, my job sucks, and I just spent $1000 on my car. Oh. I mean 'fine'."

  11. I think we were separated at birth. I cannot even begin to describe the strange feeling of dread that overcomes me when I see a familiar face in the Smith's downtown. Run! I think to myself Run! Instead I have cultivated the art of pretending not to see people so that I don't have to point out how much alfalfa sprouts look like pubic hair to an old lady from church.

  12. Captain Inappropriate here! I totally relate. I get nervous and also say whatever pops into my head which leaves many people darting in the opposite direction now when they see me coming.

    On a separate note, I used to date a super smart investment guy from the south. He had a deep, sexy voice and he told me how he worked hard to get rid of his "twang." I didn't believe him until he showed me a video tape of a presentation he did in college filled with a bunch of "y'alls" and multi-syllable words that are only single-syllable words here in a Chicago. It was so different from how he sounded.

    But I gotta be honest. I do like myself a fine southern gentlemen who opens doors. Very swoon-able.

  13. Oh man, I just had this happen to me in a plane. I hate sitting next to strangers in planes. We'll eventually need to talk. Or not. Both situations are awkward. And scary. And thank you for not letting me feel alone.

  14. Great post!

    I don't do this, but what I do instead is misread when someone is trying to hand me something as the undeniable fact that they are going in for a hug, so I hug them. This has happened to me more than once. The mailman is no longer speaking to me.


  15. "sound like I fell of the turnip truck"
    OFF the turnip truck. You're welcome ;)

    1. There is nothing quite so awful as making a typo while talking about how well spoken you are, ha! Thank you. :) I will eventually fix that formatting up there, too, but Blogger hates me and my ipad.

  16. really funny- thanks for the brian regan link- loved seeing his you tube clips

  17. It makes me so happy to see that my readers are just as whacked as I am!

  18. I always say there are two types of people...the type that lay in bed at night saying, "I should've said this, I should've said that". Then there are the other types, like me, who lay in bed at night and say, "I shouldn't have said that". Which usually means, the next morning, I have phone calls to make and emails to send to apologize for what I've said.