Small Talk – Important Still - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Small Talk – Important Still

Small Talk – Important Still

Published October 6, 2009

Now, like I already told you, I grew up in a village and thus I mastered, subconsciously, the skill and effectiveness of banal small-talk.
After eighteen years in a fjord, I moved to the city of Reykjavík. Fast forward and I’ve lived in three different continents and travelled wide and far. Not living in a place of a few hundred, I suddenly had hundreds of thousands of people at my disposal. Now I could pick out people who appealed to my intellect, my hobbies and my silly little quirks. Hell, I could form a metal band IN MY IMAGE by simply posting an ad at any given music store.
My small-talk edge slowly dulled, because here I was, mostly talking to like-minded folks. Gone was the crazy baker who picked on me for having long hair. The mentally challenged girl on a tricycle didn’t top off my paper route by going into detailed discussions about her little dog’s poo and private parts. For years and years, I never came across grumpy dockworkers that I bummed a knife from. I wasn’t hanging out on the docks. I still don’t.
As I got older, I became increasingly picky as to whom I talked to and who was lucky enough to be graced by my presence, let alone indulge with me in any meaningful way. The small-talk edge continued to dull.
Thirty one years of age, I became a part of my fjord community again and it was only then that I realised my small-talk skills had vaporised and disappeared. It happened this summer.
I was on an organised mountain walk with an amalgam of villagers, old and new. We talked about mundane and banal things and I appreciated it, recognising the importance of socializing and bond-building. Plus, I was shooting the breeze with people I hadn’t shared anything with in over than a decade. But I found myself wishing they would not talk to me. For too many years, I’d spoiled myself with a loaded smorgasbord of individuals tailored to my every quirk. I longed for my sharp small-talk edge of old. Regretfully, it was lost.
The whole summer I tried to regain it, to no avail. Coincidently I feel incompetent to a degree. Too bad. 

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