Small talk

During the past week, I had very similar conversations with an assistant at my physical therapist’s office and my hairdresser. For some reason, neither woman wanted me to sit in silence as she ultra-sounded my shoulder or cut my hair.

I prefer silence to being asked by someone I just met if I have any kids. Come to think of it, my acupuncturist (with whom I have broken up) asked me the same thing when I told her I went to Disney World. My response, naturally, is, “No, but we have a 1-year-old German shepherd.”

I wouldn’t mind if they then asked me tons of questions about my dog, or told me stories about theirs, but the follow-up question is usually, “Do you plan to have kids?”

How deeply personal. Especially since in most cases, the asker has kids, so it seems rude to say, “Oh God no, why would I want to ruin a perfectly lovely life?” Which isn’t really how I feel, but it’s just not a conversation I want to get into with my hairdresser, acupuncturist or assistant to the physical therapist.

I have the same problem with my married girlfriends, whose weddings are precisely the reason why I don’t want to have one. “But, you always wanted to get married!” they exclaim, thinking I’m sacrificing my girlish dreams to be with Rob. How can I tell them, “Yeah, but then I was in your wedding and I realized how pointless the whole thing is. Also, you’re in a lot of debt, and I own a house…”

I digress.

In the physical therapy setting, since it was my first session, I would have preferred for the woman to make conversation perhaps by explaining what the ultra-sound was for, because for a second I thought she was going to tell me the sex of the baby gestating in my shoulder.

I know that hairdressers like to chat, or they think we expect them to chat, but I really felt like mine was having to work pretty hard to keep a conversation going with me, and if it’s that hard, honey, just give up; I must not feel like talking. I tried asking her about herself, but that didn’t really get us anywhere either.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest…I fired the acupuncturist because it wasn’t doing much for me, whereas the doctor-prescribed physical therapy has worked wonders already. I’m like, Duh! Why the hell did I think acupuncture was the answer? (Because physical therapy didn’t occur to me. Guess that’s why doctors go to med school.)

Published by Kari Neumeyer

Writer, editor, dog mom, ovarian cancer survivor

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