The Thanksgiving holiday just ended and I got a chance to see and spend time with a lot of people who came in for the holidays. I also got a chance to see what Wichita Falls traffic is like when nobody has to work. My shoulders are sore from bumping into shoppers who are looking for the next item on their non-existent list, and from trying to maneuver my way around crowded sports bars.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite two holidays of the year. I get to experience some great meals that I could never make on my own, hopefully receive some cool gifts that I am too lazy to actually buy on my own, and get paid time off from work. I like seeing all the Christmas lights, experiencing the feeling of cold weather, warm fireplaces, and on some occasions, pumpkin pie and eggnog.
Something that I have never really enjoyed is all the small talk associated with running into acquaintances that I haven’t seen in a while. It’s not that I don’t enjoy seeing these people, it’s just that I don’t enjoy asking the same questions and generating the same responses each and every time I talk to someone different, as if I have some type of pull string in the middle of my back.
It’s not that I am impersonal either, it’s just that I don’t like the repetition, the awkwardness of having run out of questions, and the possibilities of having an inconclusive ending to the conversation. How many times have you seen someone you knew and ran out of things to ask? How many times has the feelings of awkwardness followed that moment, as if one such thing was the product of the other? How many times have you, after there is a moment of silence, had to think of ways to depart without making the situation even more uncomfortable or insincere? And how many times were you left with a conversation that was never concluded, as a result of someone else coming up and saying hi to that person? What do you do during the wait-for-that-other-conversation-to-end grace period? What is the grace period for waiting on someone to come back to an interrupted conversation? And do you just leave without saying anything or is a simple “good talking to you” line required?
It’s just best to not have to deal with any of those questions. But unless you’re a jerk, you can’t NOT talk to someone you know after they have made direct eye contact with you. The pretending you didn’t see them trick lost all credibility after high school. And the turning your head the other way thing dug its grave a long time ago as well.
Not to sound like an infomercial, but I have created the perfect solution. It’s called a small talk card. The small talk card is like a business card. It’s created to fit in any pocket so that when you leave the house you can take them with you, just in case. Now you don’t have to worry about all of the questions posed in paragraph number four.
Upon the initial interaction, you recite a greeting and pull one of these handy items right out of the location that you established for it. If the other person is keen to this new way of communicating then you might just get one back. You can take the card, view it at your own pleasure and do whatever you want with it afterwards. No more thinking of questions, no more awkwardness, and no more having to worry about being on hold and wondering what the grace period for waiting is. The small talk card can even be given out to other people. For example, if I saw someone and knew that they had their small talk card, I could ask them to see it. I’ll know all about what’s going on without getting into anything generics.
Now the holidays can be the holidays without the feeling of a high school reunion. If I could only create something to make stores less crowded…wait, I thought the internet was supposed to do that.