Small Talk

Last night was absolutely rubbish. D and I met her friends out on Brick Lane for a curry. There was about ten of us, and they had a massive table booked. We were the last to arrive, and the two chairs left at the table weren’t sitting next to each other. People offered to move, but it seemed like such a hassle, I played gracious and said, ‘No that’s fine. We don’t need to sit next to each other.’

Everyone knew everyone, and they already had their little discussions going. No tried to bring me into the conversation, and while I’m usually quite good in these situations, to be honest, I’m so incredibly tired of small talk. I feel like it’s all I’ve done for the lat several months.

First small talk with the Marathon and Fringe, and then small talk with people at work. I finally start making friends, and I get a new boyfriend, and I’ve got to make polite conversation with his friends and family. There’s work parties, friend’s parties, and boyfriend’s friend’s parties, all of which I’ve got to introduce and be introduced. I feel like I’m saying the same thing, again and again.

‘Hello my name is…’
‘I’m currently doing a placement at MNM publishing…’
‘Yes, I like it. No I don’t know what I’m doing after…’
‘Oh, I’m here because I know…’
‘That’s terribly interesting. Please tell me more about your job/kids/hobby/political opinions…’

Last night I just couldn’t be asked, and when no one else made an effort, I didn’t either.

After the curry, which seemed to drag on for hours, we hopped over to ten pin bowling. I had high hopes for this, because at least it was an activity where I could focus on something physical rather than making conversation. But a couple of people who weren’t at the curry house showed up, and we only had two lanes booked, which meant there wasn’t enough space for everyone to play.

Once again, I tried to be the gracious one, ‘No, no. I don’t mind. I really don’t want to play. I’d rather watch everyone else.’

This was a mistake. I tried to cheer people on, but the energy just wasn’t there. After a while, I just didn’t feel like hanging around any longer. And the thought of going clubbing later, standing in a corner while everyone danced together, filled me with dred. 

I told D that I was going home. She insisted that I stay. I told her that I really wasn’t feeling well, still a bit ill from over the holidays. (Sorry if you read this D. I told a bit of a porky pie, but I just didn’t feel like hanging about last night.)

I got on the Tube, and amongst the revellers there were others like me. Lone people making their way to somewhere. We all looked quite sad, and a bit tired. We all just wanted to get some place quiet.

Got home and mum was asleep on the sofa. I gave her a peck on the cheek which woke her up for a moment. She clambered about, said, ‘What time is it? Did I miss it?’

I just said ‘Happy New Years’ and went up to my room.

I called HarryPotter. No answer. He was probably at the party and couldn’t hear the phone. Rang Goatee. Also no answer. Also probably at a party and couldn’t hear the phone.

I decided I wanted to leave London, so I searched the internet and while direct trains going back to Glasgow are limited on New Years day, I could get a train to Newcastle.

I rang Dad. He answered with a flustered, ‘Is everything okay Doodlebug?’

I said ‘Yes. Happy New Year.’ I could hear Paula in the background. I asked Dad if it was okay for me to come up for a few days, and he was more than obliging.

I’m at Dad and Paula’s just now. Paula’s rushing about as normal, ‘Oh, if I’d been given a bit more time, I’d have stocked the fridge.’ ‘Should I put the kettle on?’ ‘Do you know how to use the Sky box?’ ‘Now I’ve put clean sheets on the bed, but if you need an extra duvet…’ That sort of thing.

Dad’s just being Dad. Fairly stoic. But I like it. There’s no expectations, no chit chat, no small talk. We’ve watched a bit of telly and just sat about. I’m on my third cuppa.

I’m supposed to be back at work on the third, but I might take the entire week off. No harm in coming back on Monday the 10th. It’s nice having a bit of space and time to myself; I’ll ring Goatee later and let him know my plans. Or maybe I won’t.


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