Small talk and small children

I had forgotten that there were no words to ‘The Snowman’. At the Sadler’s Wells performance this matters not at all because every child in the audience provides the narrative. It is tremendously entertaining. I wish everything was narrated by the under-10s. Question Time would be a great deal better.

We went out for dinner after the ballet, and my friend joined us. ‘What does she do, your friend?’ my ballet companion asked me. ‘She’s a pediatrician.’ ‘Oh, I don’t think we can go for pizza then. We should get salad or something.’ There was a short pause. I looked at my friend, who had thus far sat through the ballet in a perfectly normal fashion. ‘You do realise ‘pediatrician’ doesn’t mean ‘model’?’ I asked politely.

My friend glared at me. (To be fair, it’s pretty hard to keep up with what everyone does these days. At dinner parties nowadays I just say airily, ‘oh, I’m kind of a big deal’ and smile bashfully).

I’m not sure I really like knowing what people do for a living. I don’t know why I do this, but as soon as someone tells me what their job is, I start to compete with them. (People might be thinking now, ‘well, that sounds perfectly normal’. Just wait). ‘I’m a lawyer,’ a chap told me this week.

‘Oh,’ I said musingly. ‘A lawyer. I know a little bit about law also. Tort law. Roman law. Judges. Injunction, sure. What about you?’ I replied. ‘Um, would you like a drink?’ the lawyer asked awkwardly. (My conversation with the lawyer went reasonably well, all things considered. ‘I’m a doctor’ is the worst for me.

I start to tell medical professionals how good I am at spot diagnoses. ‘Hmm, slight swelling of the abdomen. Probably appendicitis. With just a touch of tuberculosis. I prescribe intubation’) I think in future I’m going to bypass the whole job topic entirely. It’ll make small talk much more comfortable. ‘Hi, my name’s Lucy. If you could watch any TV show in the world, and have it narrated by small children, which would you pick?’ I can’t wait to meet someone new this week.

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