Thursday, March 08, 2012

Small talk

I hate going to new hairdressers because they always try to make trivial conversation and ask you inane questions like “Are you off out tonight?” and I don’t like small talk. I can’t do small talk. Fortunately my current hairdresser has known me for years and talks to me either about real things like family or haircuts or future life plans, or she doesn’t talk at all.

Today I went to a new dentist because my usual one has retired. the new one is pleasant (except that he didn’t polish my teeth) and he has a smiley dental nurse who I liked right up until she said, “Are you doing something nice this afternoon? Are you going out?” I was in fact doing something taxing and private this afternoon and I said “I don’t want to talk about it.” I suppose it was due to my feeling rather tense, that I blurted out this reply.

Do you consider me churlish?  Or do you sympathise that the kind of nicety she was trading in was unnecessary and irritating?

4 comments:

galant said...

It is sometimes difficult to find a polite answer to an innane question. I might've said that I would be spending the afternoon with a bottle of gin, getting over the present experience, or something equally silly. I think the worst question I ever had was during my course of cancer treatment a few years ago. The hospital staff were all wonderful and made me behave in a positive fashion. However, my GP's surgery called me in for one of those little chats with the nurse practitioner, I think to also offer support. There was then a questionnaire and she began to ask me questions about all kinds of things, my treatment, any other ailments, and so forth. And then she said something like, "Now, you are obviously so well, I'm not sure whether I should ask you the next question ..." by which case my curiosity was whetted. I should've known better but I said, cheekily, "Oh go on, you can't say that and not ask ... ask away!" So she did.
"Where do you want to die?"
I was totally taken aback. I felt like bursting into tears. I was fighting cancer, death had crossed my mind on many an occasion. But her asking it really upset me. But being me, I didn't want her to see how much this had upset me, so I replied.
"I should like to die IN MY BED!"
And with that I got up and walked out.
So yes, it's sometimes difficult answering an innane question.
Margaret P

ridmer said...

I don't think you churlish at all.
On this side of The Pond, I despair of shop assistants who usually conclude a conversation or transaction with, 'Have a nice day'. .......grrrr
After buying a toilet auger one day (son who uses too much loo-roll), my response to the unfortunate cashier was, 'Would you like to re-phrase that?'
Or, to the customer service rep this week, when I was attempting to return an item,(problem only because it had been bought in a different branch) and she kept saying ' but Darling' ....... I eventually told her very bluntly that I was anything but her Darling !
........ and those were very trivial instances which come to mind, unlike your own experience.........so keep up the good work!

Sue Hepworth said...

Thanks for both your comments, Margaret and Ridmer. I am so pleased there are other people who feel the same way as me. If people must say something inane, I think they should talk about the weather, which isn't personal.

Diane said...

I'm with you, that kind of small talk I don't care for one whit.