as of tonight the hardest thing, really, has been adapting my small talk because i had one of the most fun sounding jobs on the planet. it made small talk much, much easier because if (when) the conversation lagged i could shout out "i work at a chocolate factory!!" and then the people would oooh and aaah and then i'd toss my hair and say, "ya... it's not a big deal."my people skills are suspect.
anyways, i was thinking about it and i would say that 95% of the time my job-related small talk followed a very nice, safe, formulaic pattern, meaning we either talked about oompa loompas, or how contextually thin i am best conversation topic ever!.
which reminds me of a story which, sadly, is not about one of those conversations.
this is the story about the equally formulaic 5 percent subtraction! of the time type conversation.
quite a while ago i went to this party where i didn't really know anybody and i wound up having a conversation with this guy who didn't seem to like anything or anybody and could not wrap his brain around the fact that growing up i never skied or went boating. i finally had to have this weirdly candid moment where i explained to him that unlike him and all his siblings (i'd gone to high school with revertigo!), i'd grown up in the (very slightly) less affluent part of town middle class! where people didn't own boats. and instead of ski passes, my parents wisely bought me braces and piano lessons.
it was the better choice.
considering the situation, i felt i handled things rather adroitly adroitly!. and by that i mean i never brought up my suspicions that he has money to spend on skiing because he still lives with his parents is it you or your parents in this income tax bracket?.
and then the awkward silence fell.
i'm sure you can tell that it was only a matter of time before i pulled out my safety topic.
"i work at a chocolate factory!!"
that's when i found out i was talking to a self proclaimed "chocolate snob." again i say the 5% conversation is just as formulaic as the 95% conversation. with the added chore of being super annoying. he talked very condescendingly about antioxidants. he talked about another local chocolate maker who is just, like, totally passionate about his product and you can completely tell, and it's all about higher end products and nobody who knows anything about quality chocolate would ever eat hersheys cue: me, lifting up the bag of hershey's kisses i'd brought to the party--- and i tolerated his little rant and smiled smirked politely but here's the thing, i've worked at a chocolate factory for 7 years, i've been to thirty bajillion trade shows where i have, at times been known to stalk food network "stars", i actually know and have worked with most of the local chocolatiers, and i like to think i've tried a wider variety of chocolate than the average person. this is why i feel i can say with confidence and perhaps even some authority that chocolate is good.
it's good. it tastes good.
and i promise you that anyone who tries to make much more of the situation is selling something princess bride!.
i walked away from the conversation more bothered than i probably should have been because it was so indicative of what i've felt surrounded by the last couple of years, self proclaimed snobs. i'm tired of dealing with it in others and i'm tired of seeing it in myself. chocolate snobs, music snobs, grammar snobs... they're everywhere, they're taking over and they disdain me, what with my hershey's kisses, and my huey lewis, and my persistence in starting most of my sentences with "and!"
and i just want to ask, at what point is it okay to like stuff? unabashedly and nonironically? this isn't about having an opinion or stating a preference because that i love. it's about, first of all, defining yourself entirely by what you don't like and second, not just disliking something but disliking the people who like it.
first of all, yes, what i'm saying is that i dislike people who dislike stuff.
second, since that party i've been trying to dial down my own inner snob by about a thousand... and it's hard... you know, because my default position is snark. it's basically a work in progress. i will say this, though, when i'm able to shut up my inner snob i wind up having amazing moments like this...
and i am so not being ironic.