I don’t have many notable talents, but the ability to converse with pretty much anyone is my biggest claim to fame. However, occasionally I want to slip into the 6-year-old shell of myself, and retreat into a dark turtle shell so I can avoid the adult polite conversation known as chit chat.
Examples of times I want to avoid grown up chit chat:
- Back to school night
- Preschool, Grade school, Middle School, High school orientation
- School drop off or after school pick-up
- At the playground
- Checking out at the grocery store
- Anytime I’m wearing stained leggings and no bra, with my hair in a bun with no makeup (Monday – Sunday)
Ways I’ve avoided chit chat:
- Writing ferociously with my head down into my notebook
- Faking a phone call while holding a finger in my other ear
- Hanging out in the bathroom while really scrolling through my phone
- Coming late (procrastinating in my car) and sneaking in through the back
Today I went to great lengths to avoid the possibility of chit chat. I promised my daughter we could go to the playground after school and in preparation, I arrived at armed with the following effects to say STAY AWAY:
- My large notebook to write (or doodle and pretend to write)
- My fancy phone for Googling, narrating obnoxiously into my voice to text notes app, or for desperate Facebook perusal
- Music and headphones
- Dark sunglasses and hat (my celebrity disguise)
My daughter darted out at dismissal holding hands and skipping along with Jenny, the one other girl in class whose father speaks Russian. Admittedly he has always acted aloof so I have erred on the side of avoidance. Today his eyes locked onto mine. As the girls sprinted ahead, he slowed his pace, waiting for me to catch up, but I stopped altogether pretending to dig through my bag for something. He moved ahead.
I announced loudly to my daughter about how much work I brought with me, mandating a bench and table in the sun. I realized I was acting like a bitch by blatantly avoiding eye contact with this fellow parent. I also acknowledge if this was a cool hipster dad I would have flipped my wavy pink hair and given into my chit chat obligation. But the truth was I desperately needed this one hour of writing time.
It’s a fine line between being a bitch and being fake nice, but I decided honesty works best.