I’m extrordinarily bad at small talk. Deep talk, well, that I’m good at — I love content — but small talk, I’m just horrible.
It seems to me that I don’t know how to think like the crowd. Instead, I know how to understand how the crowd is thinking, which is a very different thing indeed.
I remember in college when I started dating Tweety, and she chose to sit with me on the edge of the meeting of the Soc-Anthro community, rather than in her traditional place in the middle.
“It really looks different from here,” she told me. Yes, life is different on the margins, in the liminal spaces.
I have been thinking that the opposite of entitlement is disenfranchisement. I watch people in stores with their assumption of entitlement, not needing to engage their peripheral vision, just acting as if the world was made for them, and I marvel. I never knew how to do that, never learned to trust that there would be open space to step in front of me.
It seems to me that I don’t know how to think like the crowd. Instead, I know how to understand how the crowd is thinking, which is a very different thing indeed. And I am clear that the crowd doesn’t know how to think like me.
How can anyone give me what I need if I don’t need something they can understand?
And how can I connect with them without a fluency in smalltalk?