12 January 2010

small talk

i find that in scandinavia, although people hardly ever make small talk with strangers (i think this is the universally accepted opinion on at least one scandinavian behavioral pattern. it goes hand-in-hand with the generalization of the people being cold, reserved, and maybe even dark), people who do know each other - for example, people who live together, classmates, colleagues, etc. - do small talk a lot amongst themselves, on a daily basis, even. the conversation is just as aimless as what you might have with a complete stranger, but instead of being with someone you'll never see again - like a stranger on a bus headed to that small resort town on the coast - it's with people you see every day over your bowl of müsli. i think that regularity makes small talk oh so much more obnoxious because it suggests, i care about you because you're in my kitchen every day, but i don't care enough to find out what you're actually about.

don't get me wrong, i love talking to people. i love getting to know them and eventually getting inside their heads (and knowing that they're getting inside my own). but seriously, if i'm going to bother scambling for the right piece of vocabulary and then figuring out how to conjugate it and then actually spit that verb out of my mouth (i haven't really been speaking danish for the past month, so my pronunciation is, for now, shaky to say the least), i really want to talk about something with a little more substance than how i spent my morning. which in all likelihood was probably spent sleeping and then waking up from a dream that took place in a multi-faceted combination of places i have and have not been.

i swear i'm not bitter. i've probably just spent too much time in scandinavia to not think about stuff like this, and too little to not see it from the perspective of an outsider.


Indigo moon said...

I LOVE reading your blog!
its lovely with a inside - outside perspective.
maybe its not so much being danish or american, cause I agree.
its like when we were at Lise party, small talking even with people I knew. whats the point. I know the point. but you know. we do, do that a lot here. maybe everwhere. but its pretty contradictory since all danish people always talk about how shallow american people are for small talking.

Maybe we should have some meaningful deep complicated conversations in danish eh ? =)
But Id love to hear about your muesli first, haha.

<3 see you soon.

Barbara said...

Maybe you noticed it more because you have recently had opportunities to visit with close friends, where you can talk about important things. Not saying it's not true.