The art of shitty small talk



I realize this blog has become like a “things blockhead hates about flying” expose the last few weeks. This is strictly due to the amount of traveling I’ve been doing lately. Trust that in a week or two, I’ll be back to normal and probably writing scathing blogs about samplers and extension cords. But this isn’t really about flying. This is more about the world of forced conversations. A world I pretty much live in every time I fly anywhere.

So, allow me to describe what’s going on right now (I’m typing on the plane). I’m flying continental from LAX to Newark. This is about a 5.5 hour long flight. For some reason, there is no entertainment…no little TV’s. No communal movies. Nothing. On top of that, my IPOD has about 5% energy left. I simply do not have the imagination to keep myself amused for that long a time while sitting in a cramped , shitty little chair. The icing of this situation is that the dude sitting next to me is some Jersey bro type in his early 20’s who had a few drinks before the flights and is feeling very talkative. He immediately leads into the convo by asking me what I do for a living (A personal peeve of mine as I could give a shit what any stranger is doing ever). In general, I try to be as vague as possible about answering that question. This is because, when it comes to strangers, I really don’t feel like talking about it. Explaining to someone that you work in a Niche genre of music that is somewhere between hip hop and electronic music tends to be fairly futile as, for one, most people don’t listen to that kinda shit and explaining what it is you do to someone not at all knowledgable in music is a waste of time for both of us. God forbid they actually know who I am (it’s only happened once) and I have to talk about all sorts of bullshit. Anyway, I tell the bro that I’m a “DJ” (this is a lie but it’s my easiest way out of the question). That sends him into a detailed description of all the awesome clubs he hits in NYC and him asking me if I’ve played in them. After he exhausts of listing his meat packing district haunts the conversation somehow finds it’s way to me describing what NYC as like before Gulianni. He chimes in about how Gulianni really cleaned up the city. I agree but add even though it did make it safer , I do think it certainly took a large part of the edge away from what made NYC special. He then decides to say that , because of his work after 9/11 , that guilliani should be president and how he’d vote for him in a second cause “If he can clean up new york, imagine what he can do for the rest of the country”. I hold my tongue after that simply cause I don’t feel like having this kind of conversation with this type of guy. The east coast version of a redneck. He adds in “And he’d be better than the clown we got in office now…”” I can’t help but react a little to this but , still, I don’t wanna talk about this with this guy. So, under my breath i murmur “I don’t know about all that…” and slowly reach for my Ipod. I turn it on and it runs out of batteries in like two minutes. As of this moment, I’m typing this with the ear buds still in my heads. I figure between that and me furiously typing he’ll just go back to reading his GQ magazine and listening to that “follow me” house song on his Ipod.
The thing that bugs me out about conversations like that are that I can’t imagine the point where one’s brain decides to take a friendly (and forced) chat about nothing and kick it up a notch to where political opinions come into play. After all, we are complete strangers who know nothing about each other. The last thing I wanna do on a 6 hour flight is offend or enrage the person sitting shoulder to shoulder with me. It’s awkward enough this guy had already dropped the “You can’t hate of Lady GaGa, she’s makin’ money!” argument on me while explaining how he gets down when he hangs in the city, let alone anything that actually matters. Not to mention, this is a flight from L.A. to NYC. I think it’s a safe bet the majority of people going to or from those places are probably more on the liberal side of things. By making those statements, this guy was just swinging blindly.
Conversing is something I’ve always seen as having pretty simple ground rules. Be cordial. Listen to the other person. Follow the flow. The same way bars have those “no religion, no politics” rules, should apply to two strangers conversing on a plane.. The second some guy starts having a weird agenda within a pointless conversation, it’s time for that talk to start winding down. Trust me, as an opinionated person, I’m constantly quelling my urges to blather about all sorts of off color topics in friendly conversations, but , because I was not raised in a retard barn, I chose not to.
The whole situation (and others just like it) remind me of something I heard a stand up comic talk about (I think it was Doug Stanhope). His bit was about , how when ever an american leaves the country and runs into another american, it’s like this automatic bond. I’ve certainly had this happen to me a bunch of times. He then goes on to say how the awful thing about this forced nationalism is that the person you’re all of a sudden best friends with is very likely a person you wouldn’t piss on if they were on fire back in your hometown. basically, trying to create a bond of out thin air Is just some forced shit people do out of habit. I feel like , under no circumstances, should two people feel the need to talk in any depth just cause they happen to be placed next to one another (except , perhaps stranded on a desert island). A brief greeting and the tiniest of small talk is all you really need. Once it becomes a chat, the person who’s leading the conversation has officially over stepped the subtle laws of human interaction. They have now invaded my (or your) space and can be safely filed under dipshit from that point on. This is only not the case if the two people are flirting, in which case, a flight can be the easiest blind date a person’s ever had.

16 thoughts on “The art of shitty small talk

  1. Well said. I’ll keep this in mind on my flight this weekend. Has anyone ever told you you look like a famous person in a small talk convo? It’s very awkward. Especially when you get Ice Cube. =\

  2. Just being stuck in a plane is already a shitty experience but being stuck next to some douchey guido without movies or music must be awful

    btw was this the follow me song you were talking about?

    i happen to like this song.. dont disown me as a fan

    • I’ve never heard that song, so , no , it’s not the one i was talking about. I dunno the name of the song but it’s a loop of steve winwood singing something like “folow meeeeeeee, follow me” for 5 minutes and it makes guido’s orgasm upon first listen.
      PS: the song above is pretty terrible as well but more power to you.

      • hahaha the song is “call on me” not “follow me”… I know it’s more shameful to know you’re wrong than for you to actually be wrong in this situation… but it still makes me smile. Reminds me of catching my brother singing “Go Go Jason Waterfall”

  3. So i was watching Adrian Grenier’s new HBO docu called Teenage Paparazzo and your song Sunday Seance is on it. pretty cool

  4. lol you’re pretty hilarious man. It’s awesome of you to blog considering you wouldn’t ever chat with anyone of us that reads it, still interesting to get a look into your world.. I used to read your myspace a ton, you had some blog where people would ask you questions and you’d respond.. i think it went on for a long time, then at one point I saw ace rock say you started this, on his twitter.. good times.

      • lol im totally giving you shit man. obviously youre a cool ass dude to share so much and connect with your fans. you always just talk about being to yourself and what not thats all. i’m suprised you only got recognized one time in person.. id assume that would happen a lot

      • I guess your music is kinda specialized or whatev’s, been listening to you since 2003/2004 ish when I started listening to aes rock. Probably listened to music by cavelight, float and labor days more than any other albums I’ve ever owned. I definitely appreciate your sound. Your sample work is “bananas” as some might say.

  5. An old Irish woman approached me with small talk today before suddenly revealing herself to be hilariously racist when she began saying shit like “We’ve coddled the blacks for something we SUPPOSEDLY did a long time ago. But I’ve never seen racism personally!” I stopped passively yeah-ing her, so she decided to declare that I must have been raised in a wealthy family since I didn’t hate all minorities.
    Worst smalltalk ever.

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