Monday 24 October 2016

More gift of the glib than gift of the gab

Published 06/07/2015 | 02:30

The words were out of my mouth before I had time to think. I was out, in a social setting, not just outside, and I actually said the sentence, "It was a great drying day, I got three loads of washing done." I was instantly mortified by myself, horrified that I would even be having that thought. I suppose it would be one thing to mutter alone in the garden when pegging out the laundry and it's half relevant, if still boring. But to say it aloud to another human? In a social setting? The shame. A shame that was heightened when my interlocutor responded, with an indulgent smile, "Gosh, and there didn't seem to be that much wind." Which I took to be a kinder version of, "Aren't you a great girl altogether."

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People sometimes assume, before they've met me, naturally, that words being part of the job must make you a sparkling conversationalist. Nope. I have my good days like anyone else, but they are the exception that proves the rule. And the rule for me is that I am completely rubbish at small talk. On some occasions, usually when I'm in a situation where it is especially apparent just how rubbish at talking I am, I panic and lose the ability to think as well, so all hope of semi-interesting chittychat is gone.

Beloved would merrily chat to a chair. It's an ability I have always hankered after. And so rather than wallow in the mortification of the laundry-chat incident I've decided to look on it as progress. It was a piece of spontaneous chat, a bit crap admittedly, but it is definitely an improvement on standing there in silence panicking internally about the vacuum that has happened in my brain. Well, I say 'definitely' an improvement, it is more of a 'probably' scenario, but I've been practising the looking on the bright side lark.

And on that bright side, mundane utterances involving washing will one day become scintillating titbits, sparkling witticisms and nuggets of astuteness. For the moment I'll settle for anything but laundry.

Sunday Independent

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