Older folk would be your chief small talkers and they simply take whatever is there and just run with it. Someone, perhaps a gray-haired lady, might say something like, “Did you see those big, beautiful white things in the sky? They are all white with a lil bit of black and in all sorts of funny shapes like animals.” “You mean clouds?” another lady might reply knowingly. “Yeah, silly me, clouds,” the other lady might say. Or something of that nature, just filling up available audio space with incomplete thoughts.
A man might talk to another man about trucks. Trucks might be one of the few subjects one of the men knows a hell of a lot about and he might talk about them as often as he can. Or it’s perfectly ordinary for a man to make a comment to any other man about college football, for example, “Them Gamecocks is playin’ tonight, gonna beat them Yellow Jackets, can’t wait.” Something like that, where a Jew from the Westside such as I might reply, “Yup.”
One can eavesdrop on one-way conversations relating extraordinary conspiracy theories in which Obama is turning America into a Muslim, socialist state where government, taxes and Obamacare eat away at every ounce of freedom, but more often it’s something like, “Those trees are getting big.” “Yes, they are.” “They’ve been there since I can remember.” “Yeah, and they just keep growing, never stop.”
Stories need not be related in a linear fashion. They may travel through overgrown country byways before arriving back exactly where they started. “I have always collected little pewter angel statues. And you used to be able to find the best ones at flea markets in the Cumming area or near Buford. But then I got tired of that. I had so many, so I thought about selling them since they were cluttering up the whole house and the cats were knocking them over and breaking them. I even called a dealer to come over and appraise the collection, but he never showed. But you know, I just can’t part with them. They are all so pretty.”
Having lived in Georgia now for over six years, I have become accustomed to friendly, nonsensical blather. I know that when I wait in the checkout line in any given store, the lady in front of me will be talking about sale items that no longer exist, that people’s children will be complimented and extolled as princes and princesses and that I may be called upon to comment on whatever it is I am purchasing. “These nails really do work,” the lady behind the counter says. “They sure do,” I reply. And then I walk to the car wondering where I am and how I got here.