Small talk is usually supposed to be just that – small talk. You’re asked the most basic of questions, and it’s anticipated you’ll give back a quick and easy answer. Things like ‘where are you from’ and ‘what do you do’ tend to be the starter questions.
I’ve never really liked small talk. I like that our answers to these questions tend to lead to bigger conversations. Every encounter we have is a subtle opportunity to challenge assumptions.
- Where are you from? Do we answer with pointing to our nearby parked bus or showing a picture on our iPhones? Do we answer with where we last were a long term resident of? Do we answer with our domicile? Do we lead with remarks that might incite further inquisition.. like ‘Wherever we’re parked’? Or do we just come out an say it, ‘We’re technomads!’?
- What do you do? The quick and easy answer that we put on our IRS tax forms is ‘Software developer’. But oh goodness, that doesn’t even begin to cover it. Our income sources are varied and as anyone who is self employed knows, when you operate your own business you are also researcher, manager, law assistant, business developer, marketer, bookkeeper and janitor. On top of that, we’ve been paid to be everything from technical consultant, social media navigators, evangelists, writers, photographers, videographers, box packers, strategy consultants, campaign managers, purge genies, presenters and more. We’re versatile, and love that we can bring our unique experience of the world into every project we embark on. Whatever funded the last tank of fuel doesn’t necessarily prescribe what will fund the next.
You don’t have to live your life so that your life is suitable for small talk. Life can be lived in ways that circumnavigate a myriad of colors and landscapes. And that’s the way I intend to continue living mine… so my answers are stories.
Those who boldly live their lives with confidence change the world by just being themselves. You really can not predict how a brief encounter can impact someone’s life and the ripples that go out into the world by just being you.