**Before I begin the not-so-small talk, let me tell you this- these thoughts occurred to me in the morning cool, while walking past the breezy canopied streets. So, if they are scattered or offensive, my sincere apologies**
I recently read on someone’s blog that nobody pays for Apple Music anymore, it’s the time of podcasts. I don’t know if the blog was very old, or if I am very old, but I still pay for Apple Music, because they keep my playlist as it is, without throttling it with their suggestions. I like the sequence my playlist has been following for years. Sure, there’s more added every now and then, but I do not shuffle. It’s a routine. Imagine Dragon had finally made it to my playlist with Levitate. I am still not buying the “You are my shooting star” nonsense. I mean, come on! A 6 feet tall hunk who can sing and play the guitar would have shooting stars all over the place. But anyway, I figured I don’t want to be one of those frumpy oldies who only lobbies for Hank Williams and Willie Nelson, so I took to the “new-age” music so I could discuss the now-trending-later-classics with my son. 30 years from now, Justin Bieber and Charli XCX would be classic, right? So I like to know what’s going on and some of them are really good. But what is with the EDM, Trance, House and all of those (for want of a better word) thumping, beatboxing, raving, eclectic music scene going on, I do not know and don’t care to know. I may be wrong here, but you must have a temporarily comatose cerebral cortex to enjoy and dance to that. I only hope my son doesn’t take to that.
So back to the business of talking music – I have a morning routine, I walk- earphones and walking shoes and all. (No Fitbit, no!) and during the hour-long walk, I listen to my playlist. I cannot walk without someone blaring in my ears. It’s like a lullaby for walking. And when you go on a routine walk in a routine place, you develop acquaintances. Most of them are just (‘morning!) acquaintances and thank God for those. Some are “smile and nod” ones, which are still okay. But then some are just that make me go, “Man! That b**** is going to want to talk”. So I start preparing for the calamity: you know, put your head down, look the other way as if you have just spotted a blue jay, look at your palms as if you got a boo-boo, pretend your shoe laces are undone, suddenly change the direction you are walking in. And I go through all this trouble, just so I don’t have to stop listening to Bobby Womack. I can easily press pause and unplug, but I don’t want to because when Bobby Womack is singing, you’d want to listen. So, over comes the acquaintance and starts asking weird-a** questions like “How are you? Long time no see? Nice weather, isn’t it? Did the son leave for school? Where is the husband? How is the husband? Why don’t you come to the park? Are you collecting clothes again for donation? When are we ordering those brownies again? Are you going somewhere for the holidays? Were you bathing your cat last evening?” These are actual questions I have encountered. Now you see my fury?! The answers to all the above are as below:
- How are you? – DUH! You see me walking.
- Long time no see? – I turned around before you could see me, every single time, for weeks!
- Nice weather, isn’t it? – Yes, enjoy.
- Did the son leave for school – Do you see him with me? Are you going to his school to do some monkey business? Did you want to talk to him?
- Where is the husband? – Sleeping.
- How is the husband? – Sleeping.
- Why don’t you come to the park? – Because I am not 4 and I don’t particularly enjoy slides and swings and sand play.
- Are you collecting clothes for donation? – No, I am not. If I was, you’d get the news.
- When are we ordering those brownies again? – Order them yourself!
- Are you going somewhere for the holidays? – No. All of you go, and I will enjoy the peace here.
- Were you bathing your cat last evening? – Yes. I possibly cant meow like that, and just like dogs, cats do get dirty.
All of these are fairly obvious answers, aren’t they? Rhetorical! But folks still feel the need to make small talk. I irritate a lady who is pregnant (and she’s not due until the summers) by saying, “Any day now, huh?” every time I see her. She is the only one victimized by my small talk. I do not know how to talk small. I can talk big, but even then, I get tongue-tied and sweaty-palmed and words rush out faster than thoughts. So I end up making a fool of myself. Bose and air-pods and the likes came up with noise-cancelling headphones for a reason. When you see someone wearing those, it is a billboard saying, “Do Not Disturb”. Similarly, if you spot someone wearing Crocs, it is a billboard saying, “Do Not Give Fashion Advice”.
So, to sum up, let me ask you this: If you were walking at the beach and saw someone in their swimming gear, soaking up the sun by their beach umbrella, having a sip of something cold, would you walk up to them and kick sand in their faces? I know one would feel tempted, but would you do that, really? As a society, we must refrain from acting out on our instincts, otherwise the world would go helter-skelter. So next time, you see someone enjoying the alone-time, stay away and do not stop for a chat. They just might be packing heat.