Sunday, February 8, 2009

Small Talk and My Maudlin Head

I'm 31 and with each new social encounter I am realizing that I have no clue how to make small talk. I blogged a month ago about my lack of gym talk, but my lack of social grace stretches far beyond breaking a sweat with a bunch of ladies who only ask yes/no questions about the weather.

I am great at talking to teenagers or the elderly. Teenagers appreciate my randomness. I think I am good with the elderly because some sort of melancholy respect surfaces inside of me and I want to know about their lives. Other than that, I can only really establish a sense of social elegance when I am talking to writers, readers, animal lovers, snowboarders, and my neighbors.

Am I just that selfish and limited? I know that the word normal is a stereotypical concept, but recently I have been around so many people that I would suppose to be considered normal. These people are good people: people who work hard, pay their bills, genuinely love their families, watch Cavs games, drink water...and I do these things too (not so much the Cavs games but perhaps during the play-offs), so why am I at a loss of words?

I think I hate that the majority of people I spend my time with never ask questions or if they do, they are questions like, "Did you have a good day?" What am I supposed to say to that? I want someone to say, "What was the absolute most beautiful moment of your day? The funniest? The ugliest?"

The sad part is that I sometimes don't ask these sorts of questions that I crave because people think I am strange...or they can't answer them.

On the positive side, I am blessed with many writer friends who will talk shop with me as well as a few select friends who understand my only child/poet sensibilities. And I have a best friend who is a poet even though she doesn't write and only reads biographies about rock stars. She listens. She also probably thinks I am strange, but she appreciates it, just like I appreciate it when she uses gorgeous imagery to describe the members of Motley Crue's former drug problems.

Thank you to those people...and to everyone else (who would never be reading this), I am sorry that I sometimes pull my maudlin head back in like a turtle. It's not you.


Meagan said...

I'm the same way. Sometimes I think I'm imagining that I'm any worse from anyone, but here I am, at a HACKER convention, surrounded by the supposedly socially inept and still feeling woefully less capable of making light conversation. Maybe if I knew more about computers. I say ask your startling questions. Who cares if they think your weird? Maybe they'll just think you're interesting.

Jennifer Sullivan said...

Thanks Meagan. Glad to know I am not the only strange cookie.

Maggie May said...

i was like this for most my life, until the last four years or so. a chaos of things led me to be more... talkie... but mostly, it was that i cared about reaching out to more people, more often. whatever suits you, be that! :)