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A Little Of This, A Little Of That

The evening was nothing more than simple chitchat.

There are those out there who just aren’t into small talk.

I’m not one of them.

I talked in sentences, according to my mother, before I could walk.

I can talk for hours, days, weeks, really, I can go on.

And, it seems, amazingly, from time to time to actually bother some people.

Shocking!  I know.

I remember Nellie Cunningham telling my mother that, “Paul David could talk the legs off an iron kettle.”

iron kettle w legs

I’m thinking that wasn’t a compliment.

But, then again, I was only four or five, so I’m not sure my social skills were in tune to the point that I could discern just exactly what the old biddy my Mother’s dear friend meant.

Why did this memory come back to me? Well, one of my Waffle House Breakfast Club members, Ed, by name, said, “you know, chit chat, where it came from, that might make a good blog.”

So, Ed, and the other two of you who read me every day, here goes.

Chit Chat, or chitchat, is defined as “light conversation; casual talk; gossip.” by some, and as “casual conversation, small talk” by another.

gossip girls

Chitchat was first used around 1705 or so.  I wasn’t there, so the date might be a year or two off.

Chitchat, or small talk is discourse that doesn’t cover anything that’s terribly important, or something that really needs to be addressed.

You know, “How are you?”, “What’s going on?”, stuff like that.

But, where did it come from.

In most circles, it is believed that while playing cards in the court and aristocratic homes of Europe, chits were given for gambling debts, and often the conversation, or chat – a much older word, was about them, or who owed whom.

High Brow Card Games

Though small talk seemingly has little purpose, the ones in the know today tell us that chitchat is good for the mind and helps us to bond with those we want to and keep our distance from those who don’t.  It also opens a conversation that could become more beneficial, result in a friendship, or, oh heck, a torrid love affair.

But, remember, when chitchatting today with the guy on the elevator, the barrista, or the crotchety old bat in the waiting room, social convention says you owe them courtesy, just not your life’s story.

And remember, it’s not just a waste of time.

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