Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Small Talk

It occurred to me, while in the midst of a fascinating adventure in a foreign land - I won't go into the details, if you know about it, you know about it - that I'm really good at something. Something that's not one of the many talents that that desperately vain corner of my brain has catalogued for future reference. Small talk.

I hate the mundane, it's boring. Most things in life are mundane. Therein lies the paradox. But there's a way out, and it's called humour. Make boring things funny, and they just might become interesting. Small talk is inevitably boring relative to anything other than another flavour of small talk. To complete that hasty syllogism, I can make small talk interesting, and ergo, I'm great at small talk.

You've probably guessed where this is going. Take a deep breath and shriek a shriek of joy because you're right. It's about girls. I should be perfect for any dinner table, anywhere, anytime, with those mad skills I've got, right? I should be, except for one small problem. Five minutes into any conversation, I get this inexplicable urge, an itch that's not on the outside but the inside, an itch that seems to become progressively more irritating each time I scratch. The urge, the itch to geek out.

Here I am talking wittily on the charms of bus journeys when I feel the need to bring in some irrational metaphor about the Platonian cave into the conversation. The End. I should probably do something Pavlovian to train this out of me. Like plucking out a fingernail every time I do something like this. Yes, that should work.

Walking In With A Bang

It's hard being a thinker. Even when you're taking a break from hungering for an end to world hunger, fighting for world peace, straitjacketing narrow-mindedness or ripping out stupid people's voice boxes, you're still thinking deep, profound thoughts. For example, recently I've been obsessed with finding a philosophically satisfactory explanation for one vexing question:

What's that bag doing there?!

People who've seen me around know that I don't even step into a loo without a shoulder bag. Those who haven't, I'm sure you can exercise those rusty centres of your brain that handle imagination processing a little. Why, why, why, though? I used to think it had to do with that pleasant, maternal feeling you get from small objects clinging tenderly to your back. I agree that that explanation is reasonably good - it even fashionably tips its hat towards evolutionary psychology - but then I discovered better.

Wherever I go, I walk in with a bag. No, that's not quite right. One of my pseudonyms is 'N'. I'm not Abhinav, or even Lone because that's too verbose. (Four letters, oh my poor tongue!) I'm simply N. When N walks in with a bag, he doesn't walk in with a bag, he walks in with a bang. Get it? There you go, a perfectly good explanation for why I do what I do. (You can kill me now.)