I was at the DMV the other day getting my middle name corrected on my driver’s license so it matches my passport. The office opened at 8:30 AM and I thought I was being smart by getting there a little after 8:00. Ha! There was already a line of about 40 people waiting outside the door. I almost left but decided I may as well get it over with and I dutifully joined the line at the end.
Shortly after I got there another woman wearing professional clothing got in line behind me; let’s call her Fancy. A short while later another woman, let’s call her Mouthy, got in line behind Fancy. Mouthy immediately began talking to Fancy, a woman she obviously didn’t know. Throughout the course of this conversation I learned that Mouthy used to work three jobs, one of which was home health care, and she was making $50,000 to $60,000 a year. She now works with autistic “kids” (this annoyed me because she followed that up with the detail that they were anywhere from 18 to 55 years old – NOT kids). Mouthy has a live-in boyfriend who owns his own business. She could have gotten a four-year degree but stopped after two years because she was too antsy.
All during this conversation, Fancy responded in a friendly way to all the information being spewed at her by Mouthy. The whole time this conversation was taking place I was feeling grateful that Fancy had arrived before Mouthy and saved me from the deluge of information. I know for a fact I would not have been as friendly as Fancy. I HATE it when strangers come up to me and try to strike up a conversation. I’m not interested in conversations with people I don’t know. I’m just not wired that way.
When I was employed at The Evil Empire, I took a few self-assessment classes. You know, the kind in which you’re assigned a color or label or animal that places you into usually one of four different categories that is supposed to tell you about how you interact with others. I was always labelled as a strong leader with little interest in small talk. Yep, that describes me to a T. I just feel like small talk is a waste of time and I have no patience for it. I do, however, understand that there are people who expect and like small talk and I try to comply, to a point. I will try to meet people halfway but I want them to meet me in the middle, too. But I’ve found that small talkers are relentless in their pursuit of small talk. Even though they are met with a lukewarm response from me, they keep forging ahead trying to draw me out.
I find it utterly ridiculous that Mouthy shared so much of her personal information with a complete stranger. She obviously has a compulsion for small talk that goes beyond the usual boundaries.
Thank you, Fancy, wherever you are for saving me from the clutches of Mouthy.