I Hate Small Talk!
Why do I hate small talk? I’ll get straight to the point and illustrate  by way of an example. It goes something like this ‘Hello, Ma’am. How are you today?” asks the caller, whose name appears on my call display as “unavailable”.  The hairs at the back of my neck point north as I kick myself for answering, thus defeating the purpose of having call display. How am I? she asks – as if she cares two hoots. Whose bright idea was it to instruct telemarketers to inquire after our well-being? “I’m Fine” I say dismissively, leaving an uncomfortable silence where the  “ … and how are you?”  would normally go.  As she proceeds to recite her telemarketing lines I interrupt with an annoyed “No thank you” and move to replace the receiver … but not before I hear her disembodied voice politely telling me to ‘have a nice day’. How am I?  Have a nice day? When did these phrases seep into our communication with absolute strangers? I’m not good at making small talk. Maybe that’s why I hate it – or is it the other way around?  Either way, it can be a bit of a problem, since it follows us everywhere.  Being out and about in the world requires that we engage in chit-chat with sundry people we encounter along the way   … fleeting exchanges about nothing in particular.  What is Small talk? The definition of small talk says it all:  Small talk involves conversation about matters of unimportance. It is one of society’s ice-breaking techniques ... talk starters ...  fillers of empty pockets of time. And oh! empty pockets of time abound!  ...
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But I Love Him!
Excuses People Make to Stay in Abusive Relationships " … but I love him!” protests the woman whose husband has been knocking her around for the past three years  … “… but I love him!” wails the wife whose philandering spouse continues to profess his innocence, despite her proof to the contrary … “… but I still love him”  bemoans she whose hubby controls her every move -- her decisions, her friendships,  their finances -- and even their sex life … “…  I love him, but sometimes he’s mean to me” laments the lady whose paramour has perfected the art of criticizing, condemning and complaining about her every move – whether alone or in company … “…  but I love him!”   whines the woman whose partner mooches off her, changing jobs like he changes his underpants ... And the list goes on … Helloooo?!!  Wake up, ladies!!  (and gentlemen who see themselves in any one of these scenarios).  You love him?  Excuse me?  You call that love?? I'm tired of hearing people using   “… but I love him!”   as an excuse to avoid growing up. “This isn't love. It's something broken and ugly.I wanted it so badly I didn't care what it looks like" - Amanda  Grace The   “… but I love him!” syndrome has nothing to do with love.  Rather,  It is an expression of insecurity, fear, self-doubt and need.  The capacity for mature love emanates from one’s own inner security,   and the concomitant expectation that respectful treatment is a given …   that anything less is unacceptable. And by the way –  staying together  “ for the sake of the children”  is as much a cop-out as is the   “… ...
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A Heart of Gould
  I Met My Husband Through a Personal Ad Feigning an air of confidence to conceal the raging disquiet inside, I scanned the restaurant and headed for a table near the back, where I could observe him searching for the 40-something woman with whom he had shared a few words on the telephone. He had neither met me nor seen a photograph. The year was 1986, long before online dating.  I  wanted to know what life after divorce was going to look like,  and didn't like the bar scene, so - in an act of impulse -  I put a personal ad in the local newspaper. I had purposely arrived early to give myself time to acquire that elusive veneer of tranquility. The dating game was indeed uncharted territory. As a bride of only 18, I was ill prepared for the complexities of marriage. Here I was, 21 years and five children later, newly separated, on a date with a man who answered an ad I had placed in the personal column of the local newspaper. “What was I thinking?” I muttered to myself. “This man could be an axe murderer!” I took a few deep breaths. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a tall, attractive, bearded man heading in my direction. Feeling both fearful and a little excited, I stood to shake his hand and exchange “glad-to-meet-you” pleasantries. We quickly busied ourselves with menus and meal choices, a diversion that eased us into the discovery of similarities and the sharing of histories. "Life after divorce? So far so good,” I thought to myself as I asked the obvious question: “So, what led to your separation?” “We ...
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