2 weeks ago
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
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>
Posted by Kelly at 9:05 PM