I want more than just small talk.
I’m a jokester at heart. Snide, sarcastic, internally begging for your laughter from the minute I open my mouth.
All I want to do is talk to you.
But I can’t. I’m afraid.
I’m afraid I’ll say it wrong. I’m afraid I’ll say it right and you’ll respond.
I’m afraid you’ll want my answer.
I’m not so good at answering.
Unless I agree with you. L’gamrei. Or you’re looking for the bathroom. Or the elevator. Or the way to Karmiel.
But like a devoted scholar of deception, I’ve mastered the art of small talk.
I can tell you how much I love your dress. I can even ask you where you got it and feign surprise.
But don’t ask me for my opinion on the latest political scandal.
I know. You won’t. You’re just as afraid to talk serious with me as I am with you.
But trust me.
I have so much more to offer you than unoriginal compliments and directions to the nearest facility.
I’m a story weaver. A speech giver. A pulpit preacher – desperate to shove my opinion down your throat.
And I am just as tired of telling the same story in the coffee room as you are of hearing it. The one where I justify my espresso addiction by relaying how I used to think café shachor was a quaint regional delicacy until I made Aliyah. No one thinks this story is more old and tired than I do.
I’m quick and clever. The comeback I crafted in my head after your joke in that meeting the other day was three different shades of awesome until I tried to translate it word for word into Hebrew. I got as far as “Your mother is,” when I realized you were already half way out the door.
Back in the old country, folks thought I was cute because I’m short and blonde and snarky, not because I mixed up my feminine and masculine. Back where I come from, I never mistook masculine for feminine unless I was lost in Chelsea.
Trust me, that joke wasn’t my best. And if I was able to make more than small talk with you, you would know that by now. You’d give me slack on that one because you would already know just how witty my typical ditty is.
By now, if we made more than small talk, I would have won you over with my charm, style, or my inexplicable ability to interpret your crazy dreams – a talent I exhibit best over espresso…in English.