I’ve been a chocoholic for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I got 1 bob as my break allowance. While my classmates would split the bob between Rings, Patco, and Cool Ice, I would save up three days’ worth so I could get a Mintchoc or a Fudge. I remember wishing I had the stamina to starve for a week so I could afford a 7 bob Dairy Milk. Back then, it was double wrapped in gold-coloured foil and a paper jacket, and unwrapping it was a large part of the pleasure. *happy sigh*
In high school, when Dairy Milks were 40 bob, I’d spoil myself whenever I could, and I distinctly remember wishing I was a grown up. Why? So I could have a job, earn a salary, and buy endless bars of chocolate without thinking about the price. Right now, I eat chocolate almost every day, and at 165/= a piece, it’s my favourite indulgence.
My taste in chocolate has evolved somewhat. I liked the original Fudge, wand wasn’t too keen on Mintchoc. Crunchie was da bomb, but a tad pricey. And on the days I had a taste of heaven via Dairy Milk, it was always the plain bars that I loved. Then I developed a taste for nuts. I was mad about Cadbury Macadamia until they took it off the market. I moved on to Double Nut, and then Whole Nut, before finding giddy pleasure in Cadbury Cashew and Coconut.
It seems I’m getting older now, and the cashews are too rich for my teeth, so I settled back to the sweet, the simple, and the safe. Unfortunately, they changed the packaging recently, and with the new pack came a slight tweak in the recipe. Now Whole Nut not only looks disturbing, but it also has a subtle minty taste that my palate finds quite … off.
I was in the supermarket the other day, staring at the chocolate aisle in frustration as I tried to find a new flavour to binge on. I’ve tried Bubbly, and while the texture is quite pleasing, the taste is nothing special. I suppose I could upgrade to Guylian, Galaxy or Ferrero Rocher, but they’re not pocket-friendly enough for daily use.
I Googled Dairy Milk and found there was a whole new world of flavours to discover. I mean Black Forest Dairy Milk? No, seriously, Black Forest Dairy Milk?!? *swoons* I wonder if they’ll ever get that here. And if it’ll cost less than a kidney. In the meantime, here’s me, all out of chocolate to love and wondering what joy is left in life. Sigh. On the upside, I’ll probably lose a lot of weight this way. Double sigh. Moving on.
I’m not very good at conversation. No, let me rephrase that. I totally suck at small-talk. I’m one of those people that can bore you with philosophy, but I go completely blank regarding topics like weather. For me, conversation serves two distinct purposes – intimate acquaintance, or passing along information. Maybe that’s why small-talk confuses me.
I bumped into one of my favourite people last night. I haven’t seen her in years, and we took a long walk and talked for hours. Instead of catching up on who was working where or what movies we’d seen lately, we immediately launched into our views on child-birth, marriage, and wedding committees. And that, for me, is conversation.
I realize that the average person doesn”t operate like that. The average person can stand on the street and talk for half an hour about hats, and it puzzles me no end. I’ll be standing there nodding, hm-ing, huh-ing, and even dropping in relevant comments, but my mind will be grinding like a clock tower.
What are we doing? Why are we talking about hats? Does he want me to buy one? Did he just invest in a hat shop? Is it because of the weather, or the fashion week, or the … wait … it’s been ten minutes … why are we still talking about hats?!? Now, I know what you’re thinking. If I don’t want to talk about hats, I should change the subject, yes? But you forget, I suck at small talk.
If I was to make a logical diversion in the hat talk, it might be something like, “Why does the hijab cause such a heated debate when it’s essentially a pretty silken hat?” To which my speaking partner would drop their jaw and either (a) back away slowly, (b) stare at me in shock, or (c) suddenly realise their phone was ringing. Because while that’s a perfectly valid conversational tangent in my mind, it breaks three small-talk taboos in one simple sentence – gender, religion, and my disturbing sense of fashion.
I’ve heard it said (and tweeted) that only people with no conversational skills attack small-talk. After all, the point is to not make mortal enemies by pushing people’s buttons five seconds after you’ve met them, yes? I have this one friend who is like the king of small talk. He’s a such a sweet, delightful person, and he will bump into me in the corridor and keep me there for half an hour talking about pencils or water-coolers or the colour blue.
I’ll spend half the time wondering what the point is. Is there are message in here somewhere? Does he have a large stock of Staedtler HB that he’s trying to get rid of? Is he thirsty (for water)? Does he not like the colour of my dress? I’ll spend the rest of the time looking for a polite way to exit the conversation without running off screaming like a banshee, which is not generally an option because I actually like this guy. And don’t say friend zone – the man is married.
Anyway, a few days ago I finally realised that the guy just genuinely enjoys conversation, and can go on and on for hours about anything (or nothing, depending on how you look at it). He must have been a hit at high school functions. So, my two conclusions for the day? I need a new brand of chocolate, and I suck at conversation. Also, if there was a way to burn calories by thinking, I would be one very, very happy woman.
♫ Secret ♫ Madonna ♫
302 thoughts on “Chocolate and the skilful art of good conversation”
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