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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Please no small talk............please.....ever......



I hate small talk.

I don't see the point for it. To me it's just a waste of energy.

I know there's plenty of people out there who think that it's rude not to practice it.

I know because..... when I don't indulge in it. Those people look at me angry.

I'm sorry..... but I don't like to talk about the weather, or how I'm feeling a particular day, or where I purchased a particular shirt..... because frankly I know that people could care less.

The reality is that people use small talk to hide their insecurities.

That's one of the ways I know I'm going to get along with a new acquaintance. If they are able to be in my presence.....in silence.

I know that may not sound like much. But I'm the type of person that can go awhile without talking.

I can go hours. Seriously a whole afternoon. For me the longer..... the better.

I like being quiet in my thoughts. I like thinking about my family, or a certain movie, or what the Angels chances are for the game that night, or what I'm going to write about on my next blog post.

I don't feel the need to vocally express all my thoughts, or to engage people in talk to feel alive. Sometimes, I just don't want to share what's going on in my head, and I don't want to know what's going on in other people's head.

That's one of the best things about being around my close friends, they know that I'm not being rude when I'm quiet.

I just have nothing to say at the time.

When I eventually speak, it's because I truly have a question or a remark to make.

Like it should be.

I think my disdain for small talk is because I've been around it for so long.

I was a bank teller for 7 years.

That's all customers do at the bank.....have small talk.

I used to laugh to myself when I'd see customers get flustered in my presence while I worked in silence.....counting their money.

They'd smile....try to make eye contact....talk about the lines in the bank, about the silly weather. Some stupid piece of news or trivia they heard on the radio.

And I'd just keep counting, and staring at my computer screen.

A couple of times they complained to my manager, and say I was not friendly enough during the transaction.

But my manager knew better.

Just an insecure customer who needed small talk.

To put things in perspective, one day I was working and a customer came up to my window and I took her deposit slip and asked how she was doing that day?

Big mistake.

She proceeded to tell me that one of her relatives were killed in a murder suicide, and her brother was just diagnosed with cancer.

No joke.

She was serious. She obviously needed to talk, and I was the focus of her venting.

Of course my immediate reaction to the situation after she left my window was...."Wow, that was inappropriate."

But was it really?

I mean, I did ask her how she was doing that day....I opened that door, and she probably felt she could just come right into my world and take a dump....in my living space.

In retrospect, I sort of admire her for her boldness.

I mean that really wasn't small talk. Not even close.

I work in a video store now, so I get my fair share of small talk.

People ask me all the time about a certain movie.....about a certain actor. What the big sellers are or new releases are coming up.

Sometimes I'll indulge them if it's interesting.

But the reality is 95% of the time it's not.

So I've sort of mastered a way to get around the small talk.

I mumble.

Mumbling is good, because it puts all the pressure on them to try and understand what I just said.

Most of the time during small talk, people don't really care, they'll smile and pretend they understood you, and walk away.

Which is exactly what I want.

But sometimes I'll get that person that just won't give up. Who really tries to get under my skin by forcing they're insecurities on me. So then I'll resort to plan B where I'll start to say something clearly then I'll trail off in an incoherent mumble jumble.

Something like...."Yeah, I saw that...I don't know if..(cough)....I guess..(chuckle)....yea....(deep breath)....you might...(look around distracted)....maybe...(sigh)....at least...I was hoping..(chuckle or sigh) ..mumble...mumble...etc...etc..."

Seriously answer any small talk question with that response, and the conversation ends.

Usually before I could even finish, the small talker will smile and look away. They are just content with the minor human contact they've made.

Lately I've noticed a new trend where people will avoid small talk entirely, by having a conversation with someone elseo on a cell phone, while interacting with me.

My favorite way to conduct a transaction.

I know some of my co-workers hate that.

But I love it.

I'm there to do a job. Get them what they want, and then get them on their way to where they have to be. If it can be done with little or no verbal interaction.

Great.

It just makes things go more efficiently.

Actually, I wish everything would work that way. Just pointing and hand gestures. It would eliminate stupid small talk.

I realllllly hate small talk in lines....like in the supermarket. The stupidest conversations ever, happen while one is in a line at the market.

People will talk about what they are buying, or how much money they are saving, some stupid bargain, or the lines....again the lines.

Like it's so hard to understand why OTHER people want what we also want at the SAME TIME.

Man, when I'm trapped in one of those conversations I just want to rip my ears off.

I just feel like turning to them, and say......please let's just stand here in silence, and leave each other alone.

My wife has a big problem with small talkers. They are drawn to her like mosquitoes to light.

She has a bright personality, she's cute, she's very friendly, and she speaks loud and clearly.

She might as well advertise for small talk.

I've been caught up in some epic small talking conversations with other people while in her company.

Unbelievably stupid, and insignificant conversations.

People just love to talk to her about the stupidest, silly, unimportant things in the world with her.

And usually after the conversation is done, she turns to me and says....How did I get caught up in that?

She hasn't learned to mumble yet...that and she's too nice. She actually listens to these people.

What's especially hilarious is when we have a small talk conversation with someone, and then we leave them, but are forced to interact with them AGAIN, when we see them in a different aisle or in the parking lot.

What usually ends up happening is silly...incoherent....insignificant.....banter.

Like...We can't stop running into each other..... or....funny seeing you again......or haven't we met before....

When in reality we wish we would never see each other again.

Classic small talk.

It's like the stuff that Ned Flanders says to Homer Simpson in their driveways....Howdy neighbor....that sort of thing.

Just chirping noise. Might as well be dogs barking at each other.

I guess people can argue that small talk can lead to significant conversations.

Why does it have to be that way?

Why can't we just blurt out what we want to say? Why do we have to work our way up to significant stuff?

To me it's just a waste of time and energy.

Frustrating.

I guess I just have to keep working on my mumbling skills.

Either that or pretend to be deaf.

Hey.....now that's an idea.



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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The crazy time of the year.......



This is the time of the year when I become crazy.

Seriously...... mentally ill.

My two regular readers will notice that I haven't been posting much lately.

It's because I don't care.

This is the time of the year when my focus becomes entirely consumed by Angels baseball.

Entirely.

When I wake up in the morning, it's all I think about. I go over the day's pitcher, I'll look over the standings, and match up, and research how the team they are playing is pitching. This year I'm also looking at the match-ups of the team that the Angels are chasing....which this year happens to be the Oakland Athletics.

I live and die Angels baseball.

I even think of a configuration of clothing that will give the Angels good luck.

Seriously.

I choose a lucky shirt to wear....maybe an Angels themed shirt, or I'll dig around my shelves for my lucky underwear, maybe wear my lucky wristband.

All of this is designed to bring positive karma to the world to provide the Angels the best opportunity to win that day's game.

I know it sounds crazy.

That's because it is.

I realize this is a strange pattern of neuroses. I guess I'm slightly comforted by the fact that I recognize that it's crazy behavior.

But I don't care.

I'll do anything.

I'll tie my shoes a specific way if I think it'll help......shave a certain way. Drive a certain way to work.

When I watch a game I'll sit in a certain position. If they start to win....I won't move from that position.

If I'm holding something a certain way, I'll keep holding it that way.

I know that sounds insane.

But I don't care.

One of the many reasons why I love my wife is because she understands.

Unfortunately....I think my mental illness has spread to her. She now does things to aid my strange neuroses, even encourages me to act that way.

She won't watch if they start to win. Or she won't come into the room I'm watching the game in if they are doing well. She won't distract me, or contribute any negative karma that may hurt the Angels chances.

She'll even ask me if today is okay to wash my lucky shorts that I watch the game with, and sleep in.

Insane.

Sometimes we go days where the only thing we talk about is our son, and Angels Baseball.

If a game is on that night. We're not going out. No eating out, no movies, no visiting friends, no paying bills, no leaving the vicinity of the television.

I'm incapable of doing anything productive around the house....until a commercial break.

I believe the movie Fever Pitch has a line where the main character.....who also suffers from baseball pennant insanity says that "It's good for the soul to invest in something that one can't control."

I guess.

But it's still insane.

I realize that.

I guess people justify this type of behavior by saying that it's all for fun.

Which it is.

But a part of me hates feeling this way, sometimes it doesn't feel fun. Especially when they lose.

Sometimes I'll stun myself with my insanity. I'll see myself acting a certain way and think....

"Boy...I've really lost it" or I'll cheer loudly, or jump in the air, like I've accomplished something incredible...when in reality, I'm just witnessing something fun.

I guess I'm just an Angels baseball nut.

Insane.

What's even more insane is that no matter how they do. If they win it all, or lose, the moment when the Angels season is over.......... I start thinking about the next year.

For more insanity.

There's only one thing that distracts me nowadays from Angels baseball.

It's my son.

I'll look at him, and realize that when the Angels lose, it's not really that big of a deal.

I'll see him smile, and hear him laugh, and realize it's all just a game, meant for amusement and entertainment.

It's what I do to comfort my depression when the Angels lose.

I walk into my bedroom, and look at my son, I look at him and smile, and realize how lucky I am to have a beautiful son in my wife's arms or asleep in his crib......

In his Angels baseball outfit.

Insane.



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