One of the things about small towns is that people are much more inclined to talk to one-another. Which for the aloof personages is, at best, difficult terrain. I’m perfectly happy to Keanu-bench it, verily it’s my preferred condition, unbothered and deeply committed to the anonymous, coasting along in power-save mode.
And so its with some annoyance that I have to rouse my psyche from its coma and engage in small talk with one of the other dads at the play-park, whose daughter my four year old has just discovered some Venn overlap with. (Snakes and dinosaurs to be specific)
He’s nice enough though and my bristling agitation starts to subside. Although I lie about what I do for a living, because of all the conversational paths I find this one to be the least interesting. Also it stops me having to counsel on stocks or prognosticate on currencies.
Buoyed by the this interaction however I engage with the mom of the two boys who’ve also joined the melee. She’s sitting close enough that I feel I should say ‘Goodbye’ and ‘have a good evening’ as we get up to leave. Only she’s got two fingers in a splint wrapped up in blue medical tape, so instead I go with, ‘what happened to your hand?’
‘Compound fracture’ she says. One of her kids comes running up from the roundabout ‘I know what happened’, he says, ‘my mom and dad were fighting’.
‘Did you swing at him with a right hook’, I chortle.
‘More like the other way around’.
I pause. *four dialogue choices appear at the bottom of my screen*
‘Oh, okay, well good luck’, I say. And totter off.
Good luck! I chastise myself afterwards. Was that really the best option?
I mean everything else would probably have been a platitude. Or intrusive. Maybe Good luck was what she actually needed I rationalize.
Or maybe a .44 Magnum.
I suppose that could have also helped.