wetwool

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Christmas cheer and small talk

Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!

Frosty

I am writing this on December 29th 2014 and I think that if I hear that greeting one more time I will do someone an injury. But no,seriously, what is it about the end of the year that makes it the season for small talk? I wish people would just stop being so……fake! πŸ™

Check it out : There are people whom we never talk to all through the year. I am not talking about total strangers, so stop shaking your head. I mean work colleagues, people from my local, my street, my estate, my neighbourhood. I also mean estranged family members – people who barely acknowledge one another for eleven months of the year. Suddenly come Christmas week and hey they are all smiles and politeness, with good wishes for the season, asking if you are all ready for Christmas….and then, after the event asking if you had a good one. Everybody being kind to one another. How nice. Ptuh! If I wasn’t made of sterner stuff I would ask for a bucket!

Don’t get me wrong now. I am not a Scrooge and I love Christmas like everyone else (perhaps not always for the right reasons). I find the religious celebrations and the coming together of family and friends most enjoyable. Christmas comes but once a year but who says we can’t we spread this politeness and kindness across the whole of the year?

And the other thing that got me itching today. What is it about people and small talk? I am always amazed at how people behave when they meet others for the first time. We seem to have an unwritten protocol that states: make everything and everybody awkward.

Humour me for just a moment here. You meet someone for the first time at a big house party and the busy host/ess is not nearby to do the formal introductions. How do you break the ice? For kids in a playground in all their innocence nothing could be easier. They just ask β€œWhat is your name?” Could you simply ask someone for their name? I’d love to see you try. What about those funny types that like to ask directly what one does for a living. It tickles me no end.

So the small-talk continues. You ask the stranger, β€œDid you have to come far?” or even β€œWhat did you think of…( insert some inane subject that will not offend on the grounds of religious, cultural, gender or ethnic sensibilities) And on it goes. We have become a mobile nation as peoples from every corner of this great republic live, work and more recently party together. So we speak about the weather and the shortage of green peas, the traffic and the cost of petrol and leaving small children with suspect nannies. Bleh You wonder why people are constantly consulting their watches and smart phones?

I don’t know if, like me, you are unbelievably hopeless at remembering people’s names. How do you honestly tell someone with whom you are having a conversation and has already referred to you by name that you can’t remember their name. Most awkward. It happens. A third party, a friend of yours, say, suddenly comes over, and wait for the introductions. Put yourself in their shoes. Have they forgotten me because I am a random, inconsequential person.

I learned a trick this Christmas, how to get out of that one unscathed. All you do is say to the person, β€œSo sorry, I forgot your name..” Making sure to use healthy gestures and body language, eg. pointing to your head like you’re a bit eccentric (screw loose). The person will say β€œMariah” with all the dignity that she can muster. Now you, in your most charming voice say, β€œI knooow that silly, what’s your suuuurrrrnaaame!” Try it, really… it works!

The closing year has been one of achievement and tragedy. The best nature of man was shown as each day health workers from around the world joined their colleagues in Sierra Leone and Liberia to treat and care for victims of Ebola. The evil that we are capable of carrying out is also playing itself everyday as al shabab, islamic state, boko haram, and other misguided religious bigots wage a bogus war at home and abroad.

As we give thanks for the blessings of 2014. I wish you a very happy, safe and excellent new year. Enjoy the song again. πŸ™‚

18 Comments

  1. I like the way you end with the same rhetoric you swore to injure someone…. hehe.
    I foresee a situation in future where people will just ask for the others number or IM and they chat away…
    Happy New Year Woolie

    • I am allowed to say that rhetoric on a blog Mr Mackel9. πŸ™‚ There is someone who posts a card here every Christmas, addressed to a Mr and Mrs Bull. I have lived at this address for just over 10 years and as you know my last name is not Bull. I have no way of finding out the sender’s address to let them know . Ten years, minimum, they have not spoken to the Bulls and still they send them a card. How about that, eh?

  2. That remembering a name trick shall come in handy in the new year. Thank you Woolie. πŸ˜€

    Lovely post.

  3. Hahahahaha You are ever the gracious one @Mackel9. I guess I should be grateful for the card, even if they’ve addressed it to someone else. I know the messages that you speak of. Some of the whatsapp messages are very creative. I bet they are sent by a few people to their pals who then copy them to others. You may end up receiving a message which you were the original sender of. Allegedly

  4. Woolie, what if the person never told you their surname and you already said you forgot their name? And you have to lie convincingly for that one.. I also forget everyone’s name immediately it is said!

    In Japan, most postcards/envelopes have a place for a return address, so if you were living here you could have already known who the sender of the envelopes is..

    Happy New Year Woolie!

    • Happy New Year Savvy!

      I have the memory of that really large animal – you know it, mammal, big ears, trunk, tusks just can’t remember its name. πŸ™‚

      The name trick is applied when you have forgotten both first and surname. If they give your their first name say “No No I know you are Meredith, It is just your surname that I was mixing up.” Always keeping a straight face. If it works pat yourself on the back. You’re on your way to becoming a politician! πŸ™‚

      Thanks for calling in all the way from Japan!

  5. The name remembering thing, especially relatives who I only see once in every 5 years always annoys me. There are guys I was introduced to once 20 years ago by my day and I have not seen them since and they expect me to remember them? And also the christmas greeting texts that come from numbers I don’t even recognize…glad the christmas season is over…

    • Hahahaha true @ OtienoHongo. Unfortunately it does not get better as more of my younger relatives get married, have children, divorce, re-marry etc….rumour has it that boffins will soon be experimenting with a sophisticated memory prompting and updating app that will put names to faces that you vaguely remember……

      Good to see on this side, sir. πŸ™‚

  6. And I thought I was the only one that finds small talk difficult

    • Work type/ office parties are just about the worst places at christmas. You can almost guarantee that even after we agree not to, some genius will stat talking shop. Then there will be the annoying girl/guy who will drink too much too quick and then begin to weep. It all gets too much sometimes.

  7. Hey Woolie,how is your 32 day year?
    You know,i read this post on Friday and could not leave a comment till i tried out that name trick and it worked!
    I know i have been kinda MIA on this streets,quarter life crises can do that to a girl.Give me pointers,where should I start?

  8. Hey Jyokiviyella

    Happy second month of New Year! It is really good to see you on this little side street.

    It is always great fun following your adventures and to be honest the answer to the question that you kindly ask is already in your hands. You see, one just has to carry on.

    Hard work and determination (you have plenty of that already) is a tried and tested way of making our dreams come true. As we build our knowledge and experience base we are able to recognise and act upon exciting and promising opportunities that we previously did not even know existed. I know of no silver bullet, no special lotion and certainly no magic diet that will get us there faster. πŸ™‚

    Aim to do the best in everything that you do.

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