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Is this what avian small talk looks like?
I have mixed feelings about small talk.
Typical small talk conversations are unlikely to offend anyone or to stir up difficult emotions for the majority of people.
Then again, you never know what someone might find hard to talk about. Asking someone about their job might be a painful conversational segue for someone who was recently laid off or who is in an awful work environment, for example. I used to think asking about family, food, and pets were fairly innocuous, too, but that’s not necessarily the case for everyone.
Occasionally, people try to discuss sports, fashion, celebrity news, or makeup with me. I know so little about all of them that I won’t have much to add to those conversations which I think is a small risk of anything you might bring up with someone you’ve just met or who you’re trying to keep things light and fluffy with. We don’t all share the same interests, after all, but plenty of other folks may leap at the chance to guess which sports-ball team will win this year or when celebrity X and celebrity Y are going to get married after they announced their engagement.
(I’m being a little silly there and mean no offence to anyone who loves sports or fluffy, harmless celebrity news. To each their own!)
Some of the safer topics I’ve discovered are the weather, music, books, that cool bird* I spotted while birdwatching a while back, tv shows, and weekend plans. They probably won’t step on anyone’s toes, and it’s easier for someone to steer the conversation into other directions if one of those things does touch on a sensitive issue for them for whatever reason.
*It was some sort of hawk, and it was glorious. I only wish it had flown close enough for me to better identify it!
The conversations they tend to generate can feel a little repetitive to me, but I also recognize the value of sticking to lighthearted and safe material with people you don’t know well yet or who you’d rather not discuss certain things with for whatever reason.
So I will happily participate in small talk for as long as is necessary. Sometimes that may be a permanent decision depending on who I’m interacting with and what our relationship is like, but I’m also secretly glad when I meet people who also share my interests and want to discuss anything from horror films to that great new dairy-free restaurant to much deeper and more personal stuff.
I should warn you all that this isn’t the kind of cartoon that was meant for children. The jokes in it are adult-oriented and occasionally pretty dark.
But I loved the writers’ intelligent sense of humour in this show. They knew exactly how to take a current social issue, stretch it a thousand years in the future, and show how the characters in that time period would react to that idea in their society.
What is your favourite song right now?
Sia’s “The Greatest.”
I love the message in it about the importance of persistence no matter what you’re trying to accomplish. The beat is catchy, too.
What could you do for hours that isn’t reading?
I took swimming lessons so early in life that I barely remember anything about them or what it’s like to not be able to swim. I’m not particularly fast in the water, but I do enjoy this kind of exercise quite a bit. There’s nothing like feeling your body glide through a still, cool body of water or flipping over to float and stare up at the clouds (or ceiling, if you’re indoors).
What is something you love to do that your followers would be surprised at?
Organize small things like coins, rubber bands, buttons, paper clips, etc.
I find it soothing to stack everything up neatly and maybe even arrange it by some pre-determined system. For example: colour; the year it was printed (for coins); how often one can expect to use it.
What is your favourite, unnecessarily specific thing to learn about?
The symptoms of vaccine-preventable diseases that are either rare or unheard of in Canada.
No, it’s not an anxiety thing. I’ve only had one vaccine-preventable disease in my entire life. Since I caught it a year or two before the vaccine for it became available, it technically wasn’t even vaccine-preventable when it made me sick.
I simply find it interesting to see how quickly someone could become dangerously ill back before vaccines were invented for diphtheria, smallpox, and other horrors of previous generations.
Although I totally reserve the right to tell mildly alarming stories about life in the twentieth century to impressionable children when I’m old and more of these diseases have hopefully been eradicated for good.
What is something unusual you know how to do?
Befriend pets who are normally quite afraid of new people.
It’s not something I consciously try to do at all. I’m allergic to a lot of common animals, so I try to avoid contact with them when I’m out and about. Wheezing and sneezing are not my idea of a good time!
For some reason, this makes shy dogs and cats in general much more interested in getting close to me . Maybe it’s because they sense that I won’t reach down to pet them or otherwise invade their personal space?
Name something you have made in the last year.
I’ve started so many of them, but I’m having trouble finishing them. I really need to work my editing and rewriting of them this summer.
What is your most recent personal project?
Figuring out when to throw out old, stained clothes and replace them.
You see, I’m frugal, minimalistic, and an ardent disliker of shopping in general. If I can get a few more months or years out of a piece of clothing, I’ll gladly do that instead of look for a replacement for it.
For now I have more than enough clothing, but I can also see certain pieces of my current wardrobe steadily wearing out past the point of overlooking it. I suspect I’ll need to start paring my options down and replacing them with new stuff at some point this year.
This process always irritates me a little, but I get even more annoyed when I put it off so long that I have to buy many pieces of clothing at once. So I’m trying to decide if it’s less vexing to do several shorter shopping trips over the next six months or one or two big ones.
I suspect I’ll pick the former option, but I’m also guessing that I’ll wait until something actually wears out before I start this process.
Tell us something that you think of often
What other people think about when they’re doing something mundane like waiting in line, tying their shoes, or combing their hair in a public washroom. Some people wear their emotions on their sleeves in those situations, but others are hard to read.
I wish it were possible to hear the thoughts of people in that situation.
Tell us something that is your favourite but make it oddly specific.
I have an affinity for trees. They’re beautiful, and I find it soothing to listen to their leaves rustle during the warm parts of the year.
The temperature difference between standing in direct sunlight a large, mature tree can be huge during the summer. I’m always grateful for that shade and shelter from the sun when the weather warms up.
None of this is oddly specific so far, but that’s about to change.
You see, I’m literally a tree hugger. It makes me so happy to finally see green leaves after the long, cold winters we have in Ontario that I’ve occasionally been known to hug trees whose leaves pop out early in the season.
Instead of choosing specific people to tag to keep this meme going, I’m going to leave it open-ended. I believe it’s better to give people the freedom to opt-in than it is to potentially make them feel weird about opting-out.
Consider yourself tagged if you want to play along. Do leave a link to your post or let me know in some other way that you’re playing along, though. I’d love to know how you answer these questions.