I hate small talk… unless it’s about the discussion of ideas. At least that’s what I observed my behavior to be before Monday night’s Social Psychology class. I was in the classroom waiting for the professor to arrive when a classmate who had recognized me in the hallway entered the class. He scanned the classroom to see where he was going to sit. He chose to sit at the front of the class with the desk facing the students, something he did the first class because the professor wanted him to. I made a comment about how he might do that every session in the course. Then we shared academic plans. At the end of sharing our plans, we started to ponder what would be the ideal job where we could be eternal students and get paid for it: Class or Professor reviewer. Go from class to class, professor to professor, and review them; publishing the review on the Internet. We imagined what it would be like to have that job for 30 years, doing that job on a scooter before retiring. We had a good time laughing at our ideas… okay, my ideas. I felt good.
When the conversation started, I moved forward to engage in what we were talking about. It was weird to me that I had immediately taken that stance. I am not a social person by any means and social interactions are a chore, yet I felt compelled to physically engage by leaning towards the classmate. I felt myself becoming more alive (not the right word but I can’t think of another) and confident and focused on just one thing: the conversation about an idea.
I like talking about ideas. I open up if the other person welcomes the conversation. It’s an indicator of trust or the indicator of taking risk. It’s probably the only type of topic that I can hold my own in a conversation.