My 99 Problems: Small Talk, Big Problem

October 2, 2012 § 11 Comments

Enough with the small talk.

That’s it.  That’s all I mean.  I don’t mean, “Let’s get down to business.”  What I mean to say is, can we just stop having small talk ever?  As a race, as Americans, as human beings… The last thing that I put on my “To-Do List” this morning when I woke up and cried in the shower was: “Must run into Cathy and find out what she thinks about rain.”

I remember high school.  It was not my favorite four years and so that’s all I ever want to do with high school: REMEMBER IT.  Leave it in the past.  I will never be able to forget it, so instead I’m fine with keeping it right where it is, which is stashed between my first rejection in the seventh grade and my first rejection in community college.  So when I run into somebody that I “know” from school in public, there’s no reason for us to re-live any of it.

In fact, is that even what we’re doing?  Are we re-living it or are we holding onto it while you tell me what you did after you graduated and where you’re working now because this is something I need to know since you dated Jim for three weeks.  Or because we had English together and were in the same group once.  I’m not trying to be a dick about it and act like my experiences and life are better than yours, because they’re not and that’s the point.

My life is boring to everyone except me and my closest inner-circle.  Everybody’s life is really fucking boring.  EVERYBODY.  Why do you think that when a network sets up a reality show with celebrities, rich people, or the flavor of the month (Hi, Honey Boo Boo) they all of a sudden have to sign up for a “blow job class” or go to a haunted house?  Why do you think that after a couple of seasons of the Real World they made them get  jobs and take a trip to Fiji?

Because this shit (life) is boring.  

Oh sure, we have our moments.  That’s why we have stories.  We have.. like… four stories.  Each. By law.  Those four stories take up about 3.5 hours of our lives and then the rest of it is: wake-up, shower, go to work, go home, eat something, sleep.  Maybe you do stuff for entertainment on the weekends and go see a movie but then what story are you left with?

“Yeah, I saw What To Expect When You’re Expecting this weekend!”

“Oh wow.  Tell me more!”

“There isn’t anything more!”

“OH! COOL!” /collapses /dies

Years ago I was walking through the mall and on my way into Nordstrom’s when I saw some girl from high school walking out.  I don’t remember her name or face at this point but I’ll never forget that moment.  We recognized each other but our only acquaintanceship was that I had a crush on one of her best friends and we all went to lunch a couple of times.  You feel this gross magnetic force pulling you into a person when you make eye contact and realize that you “know” them but I did everything in my power to stop it except that I couldn’t.  This was happening.

“Hey, how are you?!”

“I’m good.”

There was about two seconds of silence as we stared shallowly into each others eyes and I realized that this was as far as I was willing to take it.  I said “fuck it” and decided that this was my chance to man-up and finally say what we all want to say in this very moment.  I literally threw my hands up in the air and said, “Well, that’s it.  See ya.”

Just end it, rip the band-aid off, let go of this need to all of a sudden “catch up” and make small talk with a person you haven’t seen in four years.  What’s the worst that could happen?  They’ll hate you?  That could get really awkward when you run into them again in 2016 and still have nothing to say to each other.

The final point in the matter that I want to bring up is the technological elephant in the room that actually managed to capture this awkward moment and stretch it out forever: Facebook.

Holy shit, fuck facebook!

In the beginning, I accepted all friend requests.  “A FRIEND?!  OH BOY I DON’T HAVE MANY OF THOSE SO YES I WILL ACCEPT BECAUSE RIGHT NOW I’M ONLY AT 101 :(  BUT NOW I AM AT 102!!!!”

Over time you realize that all Facebook has done is sully the reputation of what it means to be a friend.  “We saw each other in the hallway once during junior year.  You dropped your apple.  I saw you pick it up and continue eating it without wiping it off and despite the fact that the open side of the apple had touched the floor.  We made eye contact and I rolled my eyes at you but decided not to ever tell another soul.  This is our moment.  This is our only moment.  ACCEPT FRIEND REQUEST?”

When you started to realize that the number of “friends” you had on your Facebook account was nothing more than a status symbol, it should have been the moment you started to realize that the whole site is a sham.  A lie we tell ourselves and then relay to other people, even in silent, knowing that they’ll know how many “friends” you have when they check your page.  I have not deleted my Facebook account but I did do one thing: I looked at all my “friends” and realized that I could get rid of at least 60% just by unfriending anyone who I hadn’t physically spoken to in five years.


I don’t need that awkward moment stretched out until the day that I die, even if it’s as a lonely friendless loser lying in a fetal position in my bathtub full of tears, blood and human waste because one thing I’ll know is that I didn’t die with 350 faux friends or having spent 713 hours of my life locked in an uncomfortable laser beam of conversation that included such hot topics as “What Tiffany had for breakfast this morning” and “Where Jason gets his pants.”

It’s useless.  It’s dumb.  It will not advance you in life one iota.  Since that moment in the mall, one of the most freeing moments of my life, all I have left to say is:

/shrugs. walks away.



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