Saturday, February 12, 2011

Nuts R U

A Swedish box of chocolates called
I so suck at small talk. Some people are masters of the lingo and I truly admire their facility. Even with friends, sometimes I end up babbling like the little fishy dude in The Return of the Jedi. Remember him? Lando Calrissian's co-pilot on the Millenium Falcon in the final, epic battle against the new Death Star? When he spoke, it sounded like he was saying, "Blabbada, blabbada, blabbada." Well, that's me.

If only social situations were like writing. Not texting, because my fingers are so big and the keyboard on my iphone so small I have to hunt and peck with one finger. Even with text shorthand, "hi how r u?" takes so much time that my co-communicant has gone on to "nice 2 see u bye" before I'm halfway through the conversation. I mean real writing where nouns are nouns and verbs are verbs and they follow one another in the sweet company of polite punctuation. Not likely, huh?

I don't know if I freeze up inside or what, but when confronted by situations where a dissertation is inappropriate and a few choice words are poetry, my brain goes blank and my mouth takes on a mind of its own. And that's where writing would help because I could always backspace and erase a comment before hitting "enter." Not that this guarantees anything but it does allow editing. The other way, where what you say is what they hear, it's anyone's guess whether I'm going to come off like a nice guy or a goof ball.

Now, it's very true that asking other people questions, giving them an opportunity to talk about themselves, is generally a safe bet. If you can listen well, and therapists are usually pretty good at that, you're covered. Inevitably, however, there comes a point when you run out of questions or they'd like to hear about you, and then the good ship and crew are in peril.

Occasions like these make me wonder about the extrovert business. On any given day, that's me, energized by interaction, eager to engage. In casual social settings, Mr. Introvert takes over and even Forest Gump would have a better chance of making a good impression. Maybe I should memorize some of his better lines? When someone asks how I'm doing, respond, "Well, life is like a box of chocolates, sometimes you get a smooth center and sometimes it's nuts." Just so long as they don't walk away thinking the nuts r u. That would probably be bad.

(Public Domain image via Wikipedia)

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