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Pet hates. We all have them, right? Doing the dishes, junk mail, shoddy punctuation, totally unnecessary plastic wrappers, people who can’t bloody well hang on to their rubbish until they can find a bloody bin…

Sometimes though, our pet hates cease to be small annoyances and become a bit of a problem. In my case, it’s small talk. I really, really suck at it and most of the time I hate having to do it. I mean sometimes I just can’t be arsed making up stuff about how my day was or how good all this rain is or who’s gonna win the game on Saturday. Other times I can’t think of anything to say and I panic and stumble over my words or end up repeating inane cliches until I can finally drag myself away.

I guess this makes me sound like a socially inept grump, and I know that you can’t expect every conversation you have to be all intense or meaningful or even just brief and to the point, but I’ve been thinking – wouldn’t it be great if there was some universally recognised word or signal that we could use at the beginning of a conversation that would let the other person know that we’d really prefer to skip over all that crap and just get on with things?

Or am I just a miserable grouch?

Something To Talk About – Badly Drawn Boy

Panic Switch – Silversun Pickups