Inspiration for this piece – “A secret is uncovered in the basement at a dinner party”
I went to the dinner party, a bit reluctant if I am honest as I only knew one person, the host. To be fair, I didn’t actually know him that well. He was my boss and I’d been in the job 6 weeks. ‘Show willing’ I thought to myself. ‘Dress up, get round there’. So I did just that.
I knocked on the door with an enthusiastic ferocity. I had decided while I was getting ready, that I was going to enjoy it, no matter what. Food, booze, what could go wrong.
My bosses wife June opened the door, stretching out her hand at the same time. I made my introduction and was shown into the lounge.
There was this evenings gang. My boss James and his wife June , two more of my team members with their partners and me, little old single, without anyone, me! Drinks were handed round and the small talk began.
Why do we small talk? Why doesn’t anyone have the guts to admit when something doesn’t interest them and move on? The biggest issue I had on nights like this, well, I had two. One – I’m single and no one else is. Two – I’m not someone for small talk.
I was cajoled into a conversation that I lost interest in within minutes. I smiled to myself, those minutes had felt like hours!! I stood up tall, took the initiative and said “please excuse me, but this conversation has no interest to me, I haven’t a blind clue what you are talking about”. Then I turned and headed toward the kitchen planning to offer help to our hosts wife.
When I got to the kitchen, June was waiting for me.
“I heard that, I can’t believe that you said that.”
“Well, I can’t abide small talk and I’ve taken a stand”
“A stand, yes. I’m not spending my life listening to bullshit that is of no interest, life is short and I’ve decided I’m not wasting it. I decided that, right here and now.”
“Oh my, you’re amazing” June said. “And ballsy!’
Dinner and dessert seemed to move in a polite fashion. The business discussions became minimal and more personal conversations ensued. Had I done that with my “not doing the small talk” comments? Everyone seemed to be relishing the personal conversations. It made the night more relaxed, maybe I had done something right, who knew!
Before long, it was time to go. I found myself the last one left with my boss and his wife. I was offered a nightcap so thought I’d stay, explain my comment. Well, it turned out I didn’t need to. The conversation started…
“Jo, I must say..”
“I’m so sorry sir, I was incredibly rude.”
“Not rude, ballsy, confident. Don’t you think so June?”
“Yes darling, I do. She’s the best one yet.”
Ok, now my mind was curious and nervous at the same time. Best one yet? Best one for what?
“June, do you think she’s the one? Can we tell her?”
“Yes darling, I’d actually show her.”
“Ok, ok, show me what?” I wanted to know what was going on.
“Come with us” they said in unison. “We have something to show you in the basement.”
We walked to the basement stairs and they went down first. I followed them and when the light came on, I stopped. Slowly my hand raised and I clapped it over my mouth.”
After a few seconds of silence, I lowered my hand. “That’s one hell of a secret”I said.