And you have a nice day too.

I am losing my capacity for smalltalk. Sometimes i completely fail at the easy social patterns that grease up the wheels of social interaction. I can be a drag at parties. I really hope nobody will ask me where I’m from or what I “do” as I will be tongue-tied, at a loss for an honest response. And even if I can come up with one (I’m from here and I direct free will), what then? The truth also is, that I don’t really care where you were born or how you pay your rent – although I am interested in who you are.

The cashier at the store tells me to have a nice day and I freeze – can there be such a thing as a nice day? There are so many moments of the day, some sweet and some ugly, each divisible into so many more micro-moments…and if i focus on the having of a nice day, will my day be a failure if it rains and I don’t have an umbrella? Anyway, it’s already late afternoon, is it still possible to nice up my day? And can your wishing it on me bring it about? I’m frozen with a loaf of bread in one hand and a bag in the other, and a lineup is forming behind me. Can’t I just say thank you, you have yourself a nice day too, like some kind of a normal person? Agh.

All things pass; moments, days, years and lives. As my own slide by I become more and more conscious of their passing, and of the fact that life is built from a seamless fabric of death, all knit together into a shimmering gauze that has already peaked and faded. It is all over already, except for the lingering delight. I am appreciating the world through a window of impermanence.

And also, more and more, I feel that language is sacred, that every word has weight and substance and nuance. I don’t want to waste even one syllable in empty smalltalk, filling the silence or the sacred space of the dancefloor with fluff. Talk is never small and I want to receive every precious word that is offered to me, with respect and consideration.

All of this takes time, more time then the people on the dancefloor or in the grocery lineup can spare. Sometimes silence is just better, speaks louder than words.

One Response to “And you have a nice day too.”

  1. squib Says:


    I find myself totally in the same boat. Small talk evades me. I don’t know how to interest casual acquaintances in large talk, or at least conversation on subjects of greater interest (life the universe and all that).

    Although, the other day, one of my adult ESL students from Rwanda decided to talk to me about his experience during the Genocide. I must admit, as much as that conversation left me with so much to think about, I would rather have had a dozen such intense discussions than to talk to one more person about hockey and the weather.

    Language is sacred. It’s a very complex way of informing one another through breathing. It’s music. It’s loud thinking and feeling. It can communicate so much, or it can say nothing, which is such a tragedy. Silence is a much better nothing.

    To that end, I bought a trombone on impulse today. Neighbours prepare thyselves for a whole lot of sound and fury a propos of nothing.

    not for a few months yet…

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