Sunday, April 05, 2009
Talking Small
I’ve had this lifelong dilemma. Picture yourself amongst a group of people you’ve never met. You’re sitting in a circle, or meeting someone for the first time. Everyone’s trying to make small talk, but no one is particularly good at it. Someone asks where you’re from, what you do, and then a certain amount of dread washes over you. You know what’ s next. You can feel it. It is the question that only 10% of the population knows how to answer. Time freezes and you hear the words spoken in slow motion like the scene in “A Christmas Story” where Ralphie says the f-word.

“What’s your hobby?”

At that moment, I would rather be bitten by a rattler than answer. At least then I would have something interesting to talk about. “Um…I don’t know. I guess I work a lot.” All hope of being labeled “Cool” is gone. “Lame” is most likely how someone would describe me upon hearing my response. My insides curl up and instead of throwing the question back at them, I retreat, “Um…I’m gonna check out the food table.”

I’m sharing this with you to let you know that I’ve entered a new era. Yes, friends, be encouraged! I have an answer to the most loathed question in the history of small talk. Are you ready?

“As a matter of fact, I like to garden.”

Big sigh of relief! Now, before you label me “Grandma” just relish in the fact that I’ve joined the elite 10%. It may not be the hippest hobby; maybe it’s nothing to write home about. But it’s a better answer than the first 25 years. Hooray.

This is how Allie feels about it.