Of traffic lights and peak hour rush

Strolling out of my marathon hour and half meeting early in the morning, I absently picked my water bottle from my cube and headed out to the kitchen for water. Filling it like I always do I smelled freshly brewing coffee. A friendly co-worker was standing by the coffee pot. Normally I would have picked my water, waved Hi! and walked back but my brain needed a pick-me-up and the smell was delicious. I lingered trying to make my mind up. Giving into impulse I waited for the brewing to be done. Noticing 3 minutes left on the timer I made small talk. Starting with “Do you live around here?” we went on to exchange details on the weather, traffic and the general localities we lived in.

Walking back to my cube water and half a cup of coffee in hand, I couldn’t help noticing how much at ease I felt. I started working for a bank when I first moved here. I would be cynically amazed at how long people could talk about the weather and traffic. What’s the big deal? I would think. The whole conversation would feel artificial and contrived. Years later, here I am doing the same thing and it feels so natural now. Talking of the long commute to the nearby state, I shared her frustration for I had done it for a year. Talking about the lights or the peak hour traffic connected us to an experience we both shared. At the end of the few minutes we spoke, I felt I knew a little more about her than before. So, these conversations, inane as they sound do matter. 🙂

5 comments

  1. Nice to see how you have evolved over the years Laksh. Although I can’t say the same about myself. I have gotten better but would still go to great lengths to avoid situations that would require small talk. The trick is to be genuinely interested in conversations and not talk for talk-sake.

  2. Me too found it strange in my first motnhs here about the ‘big deal’ about weather. But now, a ‘Hi’ adn ‘what a nice weather’ are the same.I genuinely like small talks in the cafe; of weather, of traffic, of news of the day, of kids, of nothings..It’s the long talks I am not good at (except, love tons of long talks with friends..I can go on gup shup and some more)

  3. Also methinks the weather is a big deal here because so much of our activities depend on what the weather turns out like. A nice day is genuinely an event to be celebrated.

    Love the new layout!

  4. Haha, how true. Yes, the weather is always one of the first things that people talk about. Even on conference calls, its the one common factor irrespective of race, type of industry, personality etc. It’s a clean and even topic to bring up without pissing anyone off, its just SO SAFE! 🙂

  5. @Suman: It surprises me too Suman. Funny part is I actually enjoy it now.
    @Shy: I know! I did exactly the same then and now.
    @Sujatha: Agreed! Growing up in mds, weather was not something that made interesting conversation.
    @SSQuo: tell me about it. it is SAFE!

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