Hey! It’s so nice to see you home for the weekend. What a wonderful service. How’s school going for you? Oh, you’re done with school? Wow, that went by fast. Did you just graduate in May? Wait, in 2018? You’re kidding! I didn’t realize.

So, what’s your degree? Writing, okay. Are you teaching? No? My niece went to the University of Notre Dame and double-majored in writing and literature, and right now she’s teaching abroad while getting her master’s degree in education online. Have you ever considered teaching? We need more teachers.

Since you’re not teaching, what are you doing right now? Still at that restaurant? You’ll find something soon I’m sure. Oh, hi, Betty! Just a minute, I have to ask her what she thought about the service. Okay, what were you saying? You had an internship recently? I bet that was a great experience, being out there in the real world. Well, of course, you’re an adult, but you know what I mean.

What’s your dream job? You don’t really know? That’s pretty normal I suppose. I’m old and I still don’t know that I want to be when I grow up, either. Ha! Anyway, what kind of writing do you like to do the most? Maybe that will help you figure out your dream job. Oh, journalism? You’ve done freelance writing? That’s cool. It’s too bad nobody reads magazines or newspapers anymore. It’s all online and whatnot.

Say, why did you get a degree in writing if you don’t know what you want to do? Oh, your passion. That’s so nice. I remember when I had a passion. I’ve always had a passion for singing—that’s why I’ve been in the church choir so long. I never tried to become a professional; my parents told me it wouldn’t pay the bills. So I became a teacher. Are you sure you don’t want to teach? I’m sure you’re great with kids.

Speaking of kids, are you seeing anyone right now? My friend’s grandson is studying to become a doctor and he’s single now. His ex-girlfriend was such a nice girl—she wanted to be a doctor, too. Shame it didn’t work out, right? What’s that? Oh, you have a boyfriend! Well, that’s so good for you. Is he done with school, too? Wow, both of you have degrees in the humanities. That will be tough. Good luck to you. Maybe there will be a ring the next time I see you!

Well, I guess I should probably get going. I’m hoping to talk with your friend from high school before I leave. I see that she’s home too. Isn’t she in grad school right now? Have you ever thought about going back to school? Yeah, I’m sure you don’t really need that to be a writer. Hey, you should come and talk with her too! Maybe you two should start a group for young adults or something. Well, she’s probably way too busy for that. Oh, you’re not close anymore? Maybe you could find some others.

Ah, yes, you probably need to get going too. Well, it was so nice catching up with you. I’m really glad we had this heart-to-heart. The next time I see you, I want to hear all about the amazing new job that I’m sure you’ll have. When will you be in town again? Oh, right, you’re always here since you just live at home.

Well, I’ll look for you next weekend then! Oh, I almost forgot—there’s an opening in the kids’ wing. Would you be interested? You’d be helping out with the second graders. Well, think about it and let me know. Ask some of your friends, too. And are you going to bring your boyfriend sometime? Oh, he was here the last two weeks? Such a shame I didn’t get to meet him. I hope you’ll introduce him to me next time.

All right, bye now. Take care! And let me know about working in the kids’ wing!

7 Comments

  1. Avatar

    I’m laughing so hard right now… these kinds of church chats shrivel my soul!

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Thanks, Johanna! Glad to know others can relate.

      Reply
  2. Avatar

    A few of your lines really got me, so on point!

    “I’m old and I still don’t know that I want to be when I grow up, either,” and all variations of “have you ever thought about [doing x]?” I’ve heard those so many times. Isn’t it fun when people try to help you creatively solve your humanities-degree career problems?!

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Thanks, Chad! Yes, exactly. Nothing against teachers at all, but I never understand why that’s the first thing people think of when I tell them I majored in English/writing…

      Reply
  3. Courtney Zonnefeld

    Small talk is such a strange phenomenon, and the last year has made it even stranger! These conversations have a laser-precise focus on things that are often emotional or in flux: jobs, relationship statuses, our feelings about the past! Thanks for capturing the inner turmoil between the small-talk script lines.

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Yes, exactly! After over a year of virtual church services for me, these moments almost feel like a fever dream of sorts. Strange indeed. I appreciate your words, Courtney!

      Reply
  4. Kyric Koning

    All conversations have to start somewhere, and people tend to target things they find important or most relatable–which can be fine or detrimental, depending. Things tend to go better the closer the relationship, though, and these kind of “church smalltalk” moments tend to be with “fringe” relationships, which can make things a little weird.

    The escalation your piece elucidates is too real. *shudders*

    Reply

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