Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Idle Talk

Among the several minuscule things about me that my wife does not like, supreme among them is my general unwillingness to be dragged along somewhere just "to visit" someone, usually one of her relatives.

She accuses me of being "anti-social," but I protest. You see, these visits turn out to be the most mundane experiences known to man. They make the narration of a Dostoevsky novel look like the screenplay to a James Bond flick.

The worst part about these visits is that she springs them on me by surprise. We'll be out at Wall-Mart, so--just before I turn in the direction homeward--she says something like, "Well, since we're out here, let's visit so-and-so."

Now so-and-so are very nice, friendly, charming, all that good stuff kind of folks. However, to me, such a suggestion is like the sound of nails on the chalkboard. They're not going to talk with me about anything that I find interesting. If I'm going to have to spend a good two to three hours chatting with them, then I need time to consider material such as "So, I hear that Rossetti is coming out with a new accordion," or "I hear what you're saying, but I still think that Kristalnacht was unjustified to its core and essentially evil in every way."

I just can't make idle chat with people, no matter who they are. It's not that I don't like them or love them. It's that I am unequipped to engage in conversations about nothing.


  1. Golf Guy7:24 PM

    So how bout them Tigers?

  2. I discovered a tactic that you could employ in similar situations. While sitting on a tour bus driving through Switzerland, I was confronted with small talk by someone with whom I had no wish to talk. This lady asked me some thoughtless question about the Swiss pikemen serving the King of France. So I proceeded to lecture her on everything I knew concerning the pikemen (Just out of college, the knowledge gained from Prof. Collier's military history classes was still fresh and extensive). After my John Galt-like soliloquy, she replied, "Oh. That's interesting." and never spoke to me again. So, my friend, I recommend that you keep a few likely topics ready in your mind to elaborate on any time you are confronted with mindless drivel. You will appear educated and intelligent (which you are) and your verbal assailant will have no chance to further engage you in a meaningless conversation. And don't allow them to interrupt with comments and questions in the middle. Just charge on through until you're done. Good luck!


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