Sunday 10 January 2021

Off colour small talk

Dissolving strangeness

Sometimes, small talk is a defence mechanism, a way to put you at ease with strangers though there is no clear determination of what topic will come up for discussion. It is at times a case of fleeting opportunity taken advantage of to stop the heart racing in countenance of the unknown.

Where it occurs might also determine how long that encounter will go on for. At a restaurant or on a journey, it might go on for hours, weaving in and out of the insignificant to the gravely important, snippets of personal information inadvertently exchanged in the trade for a sense of the personal, the individual or the unique.

Short and naughty

However, in a lift, the exchange will probably be over before it has started. It requires something catchier like when I stuck my foot in it so much that I literally could not put it out without causing a right old stink. He was already in the lift going doing as I entered on the second floor, he ensuring I had entered for the right direction of travel.

“You don’t live in South Africa, do you?” I asked, observing that he was completely devoid of the tone of tan as you might naturally expect of a Caucasian living in these climes. In my mind, I expected another answer pertaining to him being a foreigner tourist who had just arrived on holiday. Suffice it to say, I had to quit whilst barely ahead, he does live in South Africa, the other question that should have followed indiscreetly was reserved and unspoken as we part ways soon after the lift doors opened.

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