We ate in silence at my brother-in-laws house, interrupted only by the tiny questions asked by his mother. A quick fire interrogation about… well; nothing. To be more specific, which friend was doing what, who I was dating, where I had travelled, how had it been.

I hope I haven’t made it sound more interesting than it was.

My mother, bless her, asked if I had met anyone last week, in denial about my promiscuous ways, no doubt. She needs her own material for the local gossip. I thought it best to lie, adding some detail along the way. I write stories for a living… how hard can that be. Unfortunately I’ve never been a good liar.

I start telling her about a real character that I met in Bangkok and then ran into again whilst in Brooklyn, went into detail about their appearance; said that we’d been speaking about the hype behind travelling. Completely forgot that I’d told her this story already, ad it wasn’t true, I hadn’t met anyone. More accurately, I’d sold this story already.

“Isn’t that one of your characters… isn’t that…”

Yes mother, it was a bad book in the archives of my mind that I thought, I hoped… had been long forgotten. Apparently not for the matriarch of the family… they remember that shit!

So yeah, I can’t handle small talk. I’d rather lie. I can’t lie. It’s a serious dichotomy that I find myself in regularly. Being judgemental doesn’t help, a trait or perhaps bad habit, that I haven’t been able to shake.

The definition of small talk:

It’s fair to say that somewhere in the world… right now, there is a Sharon, or Linda, or Pam… in accounts, it’s her birthday and there’s a Graham, in a tired suit, buying a reduced price birthday cake on lunch break, and in the office somewhere, a bunch of co-workers are signing a birthday card in biro pen.

Small talk, if it needs to exist, surely has a time and place. You thought that was the cinema? The cinema? During the movie… are you kidding me? I don’t know what group home you were raised in Katie, but I’m sure Chanel and Emily can wait to hear about your argument with Mike last week. I know I can.

I can’t breathe in the passive smoke of belligerent conversation, I can’t listen to small talk. How do we connect anymore? I can’t be the only one… how do we fight this epidemic.

Author, turned my back on the business world; almost killed me, still might.

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