New ‘Trek

Small talk: The mouth is running and the mind is idling, otherwise engaged


This is a lion’s claw set in silver. I’ve had it for six years and had the setting redone by a couple of friends who are jewelers. The lion it belonged to lived over 100 years ago. I wear it to honor all cats. I’m not going to debate the animal products use arguments any further than that.

Sometime last year I went to a meeting of spiritualists. There was a guided meditation at the end of the session. For probably 20 minutes after the meeting was over there was the usual milling around, non-relevant banter, chatty-ness, mindless mouth running that we call small talk, and that sometimes gets called “afterglow.” Anyone who knows me knows I hate small talk. I’ll do it for a very brief period and at the same time I’m usually looking for an exit. So I’m standing there going through the usual motions chatting with a with a couple of people there and one sees this pendant and asks if it’s a chili pepper.


You read that right.

A chili pepper.

As someone who isn’t comfortable with this kind of communication, I have learned to listen for trigger phrases. These are stupid things that people say that signal to me that it’s time to end the encounter. At work I put on my headphones and start trying to drown them out.

I told them what it was and started slowly working my way towards the door. I don’t know what sort of mental connections one has to make to think that this pendant is a replica of a chili pepper. They have a similar shape, kinda, but it absolutely stops there. There’s not any intuitive meaning to be derived to link the two any further than that. So we’re left with saying that she was just making small talk, and I say “right.” I look at the watch I’m not wearing, and I’m out.