Last Saturday we went to an Olympics party at our neighbors' place. We have just started getting to know them, and really like them.
Nick and I both medaled in attendance. I chose gold. He chose silver and bronze. They gave us extra to take home.
Some people are very good at walking into a room of strangers and just...talking. To a random person. Someone they do not know!
Nick, for example. He is great at this.
He will walk up to someone, open his mouth, introduce himself, and start talking. Like, you know, no big deal.
And he'll say the most prosaic thing.
It's not exactly, "Hi, I'm Nick and I ride the bus to work!" But it's along those lines.
And do you know what happens? People chat right back to him! Then they go ahead and have A Whole Conversation.
It might be about sports. About politics. About the weather. About the beer. Seriously. He started a conversation about Pabst Blue Ribbon the other night.
Meanwhile, I hide behind him. Which is not hard. I can stand slightly behind one sleeve and it doesn't even look like hiding. It just looks like his arm has legs.
Don't get me wrong: I'm friendly. I don't have social anxiety.
I just get clenchy with a big group of strangers. I don't enjoy the small talk.
I don't have much to say about the weather except lately things like this fucking winter needs to end - and I am sick to death of saying that. I don't know the sports. I'd feel ridiculous turning to a stranger and being all, "Oh, PBR! Nice choice!"
But apparently that's what you do with strangers because it works.
Fortunately, I bumped into the husband half of another neighbor couple – also people we don't know well but like very much – and he told me his wife was downstairs.
They're both fascinating. I was delighted.
But we had been talking not more than 10 minutes before I realized we were talking about suicide. Suicide, people.
And I was all, "Oh, my God. I clearly fail at party conversation."
I clearly do the opposite of small talk.
And then, then a bit later I went off to get a glass of wine and came back and there was Nick, talking in detail about horse insemination.