Of small talk and random subjects of conversation…

I don’t like to walk. I’d rather take the bus or call a cab. That’s just how it is.

The other day, I found myself in the midst of a free day and decided to go to Glendale Galleria, a 20mins ride from where I live.

Now, the thing about LA taxi drivers is that they love to talk.
They almost compulsively make small talk, which I don’t mind. Some might see it as an opportunity to weave different stories each time. But I stick to the routine.

“Where are you from?”
‘India’
“How long have you been in LA?”
‘4 weeks’
“What are you doing here?”
‘Studying”
“Where are you studying?”
‘New York Film Academy’
“Do you want to work in Hollywood?”
‘I haven’t thought about it yet’

And it goes on.

Then there are old men who drink alcohol on the bus and insist on telling everybody in their close radius their life story. This one was particularly entertaining.

“You having a good day, Miss?”
‘Yeah’
“I’m always having a good day. You know why?”
(He points to the inside pocket of his jacket and shows a bottle of alcohol. He almost immediately brings his finger to his lips and pretends it’s a secret)
“I’m just happy to be alive.”
‘Mmm hmmm’
“I’m 57, just 3 short of 60. Ooooh and this (points to his hip) is my third artificial hip. I’m in pain and I used to take (names some medicine I can’t remember) but now I just (makes a drinking gesture)… ssshhh.
‘Mmm hmmm’

He goes on to claim having lost 101 cellphones or something and quotes an arbitrary figure on how much it cost him. So much so that now the store owners are fed up of taking his money and gave him an ordinary cellphone for free. As far-fetched as all his stories possibly were, he was just looking to make small talk with anyone who paid attention and responded enthusiastically. Unfortunately, I had nothing but monosyllables to offer.

There was also this really long conversation I had, on everything ranging from screenwriting and religion to the purpose of everyday life, that still takes me back to the night of sometimes.

But the common thread of it all has been this:

We inhabit the same planet and none of us know the length of our time here. We might as well exchange some words and learn about each other while we can. Isn’t that what conversation is for?

Feel free to leave your comments below.

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