Chit-chat

Chit-chat: (n) inconsequential conversation.

Perhaps the greatest kindness we do to other human beings is to listen to them. But we must be aware that if we point eyes and ears in their direction, we also must be prepared to endure.

Sometimes it astounds me–what people think is important. Even more bewildering is why they think I would feel it is important.

Yet at the cost of the losing a huge wedge of my time, I will stand and listen to people rattle on about their granddaughter’s or their grandson’s innate ability to play piano, beginning with the surprising revelation that at age five they had mastered “Chopsticks.”

On top of this. visual aids suddenly appear. Yes, pictures come out of purses and wallets. (This requires that I comment on how attractive the children are, no matter how much their features may contradict my praise.)

It’s called chit-chat. And the main problem with it is, once you’ve been targeted as a victim, you lose hours of time for very little appreciation.

After all, nobody walks away and says, “That guy is a magnificent listener!” Actually, they stroll away thinking how interesting they must have been–for me to remain for so long.

Yes. I end up encouraging a verbal criminal–someone who forces himself on other humans, raping them of all sensibility.

Chit-chat is often used to avoid real conversation about pertinent issues. It’s a way of saying “I like you” without ever saying, “I love you.” It’s a way of being heard without needing to listen, especially if you develop the annoying vice of interruption.

When the world is falling apart and the meteors are streaming to the Earth and the atomic bombs are exploding in every direction, there will be some person standing on a street corner, boring a friend, talking about his daughter’s amazing second-place finish in the school spelling bee.

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