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What I am: Complicated. A mom. A wife. A thinker. A seeker. A 'musician'. One of the volunteer executive directors of a niche music festival. An administrative business owner who set up shop in a senior's condo. Oh the stories!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Small talk will be the death of me.

When it comes to small talk, there are two types of people.  The Runners (me) & the Non-Runners (my husband).  How do you know if you are a Runner?  Well, it's got to do with being in that awkward stage of knowing someone, but not really knowing them.  You know the feeling.  You're walking along the aisles of Wal-mart, looking for the Cheezies, when you see her....the Acquaintance.
Well if you could see inside my head at this very instant, you would see the monkeys having a very brief meeting, analysing the following:
  • Did she see me?
  • Exactly how much do we have in common?
  • Is there anything uncomfortable in our mutual knowledge of one another?  (ie, That last time we saw one another, did I promise to host a Candle Party?)
  • Is there time to get the hell out of Dodge?

This, folks, is the head space of a Runner.  Avoid, avoid, avoid.   It's simply awkward...I am a very practical person and I never have been able to get my head around the stupid things people say to one another when they haphazardly meet. (Damn, I got caught)... "Hi!!!!  Oh my God!!!!! Hi!!!! How are you?"  "Good!! How are you?"  Ok, we've established how we are...

At this point, the monkeys are informing me that they've got nothing else.  NOTHING!  So, without a second thought my fight or flight instincts cause me to begin speaking in a shrill, semi-shrieking voice.  This has somehow become Tracy's coping mechanism.  I panic when I can't think of anything more to say and that triggers, The Voice.  The Voice comes complete with wild hand gestures (I am French) and a rate of speech that somehow becomes dub-time.

"SO, YA...NO...JUST DOING SOME SHOPPING!  I JUST NEEDED A FEW THINGS SO I'M HERE DOING SOME SHOPPING, SO..., "  I bray, causing sidelong glances from nearby shoppers I have nearly taken out with my wayward arms.   This inevitably backfires on me in that it causes The Acquaintance to peer into my shopping cart, which is filled with such delights as Midol and maxi pads.   I suppose this is ok, because it distracts them from the fact that I am shouting at them for no good reason.  I go on to shriek some other dumb things they really don't need to know, and they try and reciprocate.  I'm sure they leave confused.  I go through the checkout mortified, wondering why I can't have a do-over.

I cannot understand why I am like this.  My husband, the Non-Runner, will be in Costco and wave down someone he met in a lineup at the car wash 25 years ago from clear across the store! All the while I am drilling my elbow into his ribs begging him not to make eye contact.  Too late...."Hey!!  Hahahaha!  How ya doin', man?"  Oh well, at least I can stand back, smile and nod and let him make the stupid small talk.

So, know this...if you see me out in the great public and I cut and run, I may not have seen you, but then again, I may just be saving you from an early trip to the Hearing Loss Clinic.  Be kind.  Running away may be the only exercise I get this week.


  1. I'm a waver. Walking fast, I spot the acquaintance and acknowledge with a wave and a smile (sometimes go so far as to mouth "hi") and keep walking. I tell myself the acquaintance will think I must be very busy - I can ease my conscience and avoid talking all in one move. I haven't talked in years.

  2. The Waver. This complicates things. A new category must be formed.

  3. OMG Tracy! I can relate! Tooo funny!


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