For many of us, the longest conversations we have are on social media. It feels like we’ve lost the ability to make small talk with people in public. Don’t get me wrong, I realize there are some scary people out there, and when they come walking directly at me I am thinking the same thing everyone else is… “Please don’t talk to me, please don’t talk to me.”
On the other hand, most of us are just trying to get by and striking up a little casual conversation is a way to pass the time.
Until a year or so ago, I went wherever I could to get my hair cut fast and I could get in and out. And then a new barbershop opened not far from my house. I decided to check it out. It’s not always the fastest place, but I learn so much sitting and talking to the others it is worth the wait. Of course, most conversations revolve around the weather or the price of gas and sports on television; whatever the latest sport scandal has come up more than once.
I’ve also learned about local history and gained some insight into local politics as well. For instance, the very old building where my barbershop is located happens to have been a gas station many years ago. One of the older gentlemen sitting waiting with me remembered buying gas there when he was young and single. He thought it was about $.25 a gallon or so at the time. He said he could run his old Chevy on two or three dollars for the weekend back in those days. Of course, two or three dollars went much further than that it does now, too: literally and figuratively.
I’ve also had conversations about which local politician has been out drinking with other local officials or which one might be in trouble. Of course, those conversations are all heresay and no public official has ever done anything he shouldn’t…
An interesting observation, for me anyway: the owner of the barber shop should know better than to treat his barbers poorly. When you stand beside someone’s ears all day, the natural inclination is to talk. And if you feel like you’ve been jerked around, you are going to mention it. A lot.
It seems to me that people are less and less tolerant of each other and quicker to take offense than they used to be. I think this is because we don’t mingle with strangers as much as we used to. We only seek out people with similar opinions. And then we don’t understand why “others” don’t want to hear us rant. We used to understand that not everyone wanted to listen to us vent our spleens on a regular basis. That used to be called being neighborly and social.
I think I need a haircut. I’m curious about what’s going on around town..