Casual Conversation: Short, Medium, and TMI

We’ve all engaged in random, idle conversations with complete strangers in various places. And yes, this includes the ever popular elevator conversation. But then again, these conversations are organized into short, medium and TMI.

Typically, these conversations almost always have some reference to the weather. While at the grocery store, you veggie-talk, and as we wait in line at the food samples. True beer and wine connoisseurs enjoy making recommendations, and bang, you spark a 2 minute conversation. At the doctor’s office, conversation is almost always of their ailments, and how long it almost always takes to get in and see the doctor. Let’s face it, we all complain about that.

You can learn a lot about a person in very little time. If you are a social creature, you are almost always prone to speak up, voice your opinion and enjoy the short camaraderie. We attract each other. It’s like we almost always have this sign over our heads that reads, “Talk to me.” Although my sister’s reads: “The Psychologist is in.” I can’t help it. I see someone, smile, and the rest is history.

Some conversations spring out of sheer terror. Flight or fight! For example, if you are undergoing a medical exam which includes some ginormous phallic thingamajig. Well, you at least have to know its maker! You know the one I’m talking about. Man or woman, science has found ways to invade every orifice quite efficiently. I am sure the technicians are just as embarrassed as you are before proceeding. Once the “wine me and dine me” statements start rolling, so do the belly laughs. Thankfully, cases like this are rare. Wow, the things we have to go through to be healthy, eh?

Today I was sitting in small claims court and the lady sitting next to me begins telling me her whole reason for being there—I mean word-for-word. She had her entire speech for the judge prepared in her head. I guess she was just practicing on me. Or she was very, very nervous, and my “talk to me” sign was on. (Regarding her case, let’s just say that with any transaction, big or small, always get receipts.)

These conversations  generally are all quite pleasant. I draw the line at the nudge though. I don’t like being nudged, poked, prodded, touched, elbowed, and jogged—hands off!  Consider this the point where conversation just becomes weird. People do tend to become overly friendly, glad this only happens to me with women. People mean well, but I do have my comfort zone. We all do.

The best part of these conversations is that you just exchange niceties, and walk away and someone brightened your day. However, what about when you are a captured audience?

I love pampering myself and leaving a few hours on a weekend for me. And what better to do with my time than go to the salon for a mani-pedi. The only bad thing is that once the conversation starts flowing, where do you go? It’s not as if you can scoot over—they’re almost always crowded. Believe me; the conversations do take a turn for the bizarre.

My weirdest and most memorable conversation at the nail salon centers on feet. How could I forget?! My recent trip to the nail salon began like any other: routine and uneventful. I patiently waited for my turn. Then at last, I sat on the captain’s chair and once my electronic shiatsu massage was over, I began talking to the nail technician. (The technician also massaged my feet.) I’ve got small feet, and tiny nails. With the exception of my big toes, the others are just little lines and a beep. The nail technician knows this too, and I joked that she had it easy with me.

I’ve seen other feet and I almost always end up getting creeped out by them–especially if they hang ten. Anyway, the older woman next to me began chiming in on my feet. She left me livid when she asked if I was a toe-nail biter. She was confident that my toe-nails were too small because I bit them. I am never at a loss for words, but what do you say to that?! For the record, NO, I’m not! However, her dirty little secrets all came out. Apparently she was trying to identify herself with me. (Small toe-nails run in my family, just ask my mom.) It seems that this woman’s daughter-in-law, her son and three of her nephews, herself included, are all serial toe-nail biters. Yes, she fessed up.

Seriously, how in the heck do people bite their toe-nails! Forget being upset, I grossed out to the max. Everyone around her was! Biting your nails is bad enough. Who knows what we touch? Much less what lurks in our shoes! Nail biting has a technical name: onychophagia. It sounds just as gross as the act itself.

Sorry I got off track there. Some conversations just take a turn for the weird. Sadly this comes with the territory. This conversation should have cured me of talking to strangers. But no, I’m still smiling and saying hello. My job requires extensive PR, so I will never really be cured of it. Even now, I trust you and I just had our own “conversation”. As you were reading, I am sure you were talking out loud and remiscing your own short, medium and TMI.


2 responses to “Casual Conversation: Short, Medium, and TMI

  1. Noooooow I know about the toe-biting story! People are fascinating – I love listening to all stories whether short, medium or TMI.

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