Taxi for Scrivener

blahblahFor many people,  social exchanges are an easy and natural part of life.

I am not one of these people.

2 situations, both of which ought to have been simple.

1. broken boiler

Glen’s been away and the heating broke so I phoned for backup.

I was hoping for a Santa/Gandalf combo with a spanner; nice, unthreatening and with a bit of luck, deaf, (no need for awkward small talk). But the guy at the door was beardless and could hear perfectly.

So. I let him in and put the kettle on. Two minutes later and we’d covered MyItsCold, ParkingsANightmare and DoYouTakeMilk.  He said no to a biscuit and I started to panic. What normal man turns down a chocolate digestive?  He was clearly an assassin. In my head I could hear the theme tune to The Killing and I started backing down the hall.

Even though it was raining and the house was freezing I decided the safest move was to loiter in the porch and shout directions from there. Then I saw his van parked outside (with the company sticker in the window) and realised I was acting like a crazy lady.  So I ran back into the kitchen and overcompensated by offered to make him a sandwich, babbling wildly about sustainable salmon and then raving about My Husband the Weightlifter and How In Love We Are –  just in case he got the wrong idea.

When he’d gone I had to lie down for half an hour in a darkened room and think about sunsets.

2. hairdresser

The way I’d really like my hair cut is in silence. (I’ve only got a certain number of words and I don’t want to use them all up before my mum phones). Plus, my stylist is young and beautiful and it’s not  her fault, but her questions make me feel old. I smile and nod, but inside I’m screaming:

I don’t have a boyfriend  I have a husband.  We don’t go clubbing we drink tea and go to bed early to SLEEP The last time I went on holiday it was Butlins with my parents I haven’t heard of the band you’re telling me about my head hurts from trying to hear you over the dryer I have no opinion on Rhianna and you’ve given me legohair when I asked for a trim.


Why is talking so difficult?





16 thoughts on “Taxi for Scrivener

  1. Ha! I live abroad! Imagine doing all that in another language, knowing they’ll think you’re rude if you don’t say much and stupid if you get it wrong! I’m not even very good at talking in English! Don’t get me started on talking on the telephone!!!

  2. I laughed aloud as I read this!
    I think you’ve captured something that we all feel sometimes… vulnerable, uneasy, not cool enough, unsafe, neurotic..!
    For someone who finds talking difficult, you write beautifully!
    Warmth and gentle amusement


  3. i am very antisocial, talking to people i dont know horrifies me! i now have a band that is used as a childs autism aid (i have small wrists) that says when i am happy to talk or not. it works suprisingly well….

  4. kerrycakes – where did you get the band?
    Louise – telephone terrifies me – even when I know it’s a friend ringing I still hesitate about picking it up. Much rather send a nice, safe, considered text.

    Emma – I agree, who refuses a chocolate digestive?!

  5. This actually made me and my husband laugh out loud (he’s basically the same give or take a few details!)

  6. This is hysterical & it’s all TRUE. You write it so well, why are you not a sitcom writer?
    Jo :-)

  7. For me a hairdresser isn’t very good if they don’t engage you in conversation and give you a cup of tea!!

    I don’t mind chatting too much, but this morning at church, I didn’t feel very sociable, yet didn’t want to leave the company. I struggled to make small talk, but didn’t want to remove the mask, that is half hiding me from myself as well as others. Chatting to kids on the other hand – safe, you can turn to conversation so its all about them, they always say nice things back…or if they’re nasty you just put it down to bad behaviour/a tantrum and many of them give great hugs.

    I’m a bit scared of phoning people for a natter – with the advent of emails, Facebook and text messages it feels rude to intrude on peoples time unless you’ve ‘booked’ an appointment. Consequently I now feel guilty for the lack of contact with a number of friends that I think of often, but am scared to pick up the phone to.

  8. I HATE hairdresser smalltalk – so I don’t get my haircut until I absolutely must… I feel every little thing you write. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my insecurity and panic about talking to people. I so often wonder how God can use me to share the gospel when I struggle to talk about things of insignificance. Still, He IS a miracle worker, so I guess anything is possible…

  9. L, WS, KC, B, A, J, S, R and E – Thanks for your feedback – and encouragements! (KC the band is a great idea)

    OddBabble – I cringed and laughed simultaneously whilst reading your posts. Brilliant.

    Littlemisshugs – I can so relate: feeling a bit lonely but not wanting to leave company, finding children easier (and more honest) than grown-ups and fearing reaching out to people, but then losing touch as a result. Thanks for sharing this.

  10. Emma, great writing. I feel, speechless!!!

    Well almost, my dread of having to talk to people has made me discover the places where you are not accepted to talk:
    I’ve ventured to the cinema, pre-book ticket, take your own sweet delights & get into the darkness of the cinema as quick as possible. If mission goes well, no one will talk to you, it’s just not the done thing.
    This applies to the theatre too.
    I also try to where a hat & my glasses, believing as in Harry Potter, this provides me with some form of invisibility cloack.

    Other places you could try where it is simply unacceptable to speak (but I haven’t been brave enough):
    The Tube
    A Train
    A Plane (with no Americans on – they are far to friendly, lovely, but scarey. And they will want to know if you have met the queen. Or know their friend who lives in London called Dave Smith!!)
    The Library – hidden by mounds of books
    Dr’s Waiting Room
    Hospital Waiting Room

    Not all the most pleaseant of places! But no talking required!
    You could even take a picnic. Xx

  11. This is brilliant. I really thought I was the only one. Awkward chat in hairdressers once resulted in me refusing the offer of a ham sandwich with the quick but relatively safe and normal comeback of “no thanks, I’m not hungry”. My momentary self-pleasure in having responded appropriately was overshadowed by the subtle but not altogether hidden look of “who IS this weirdo?”. It was only as I sat mulling over this unforeseen response that I realised I had, in fact, been offered a complimentary hand massage and NOT a ham sandwich

  12. Jude – I’m sorry! (But that is hilarious..)

    Faithhopelove – love the additions. And your ‘invisibility cloak’…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *