When I was younger, I hated small talk. It took a lot of effort and seemed like such a waste of time. Plus, I got really anxious about what to say. My mother was an absolute pro at small talk. I would look on in awe as she chatted with complete strangers in stores. Sometimes, I didn't know they were strangers. I'd ask, "How did you know that lady?" My mom would reply, "Oh she was buying cantaloupe next to me." Such a talent and mystery!
Lots of time, medication and therapy later, I'm pretty good at small talk. Not at my mother's level of expertise but at least I find it enjoyable. In fact, I like it so much, I start looking for ways to talk to strangers. If I can, I start with a compliment or a question. Sometimes it is just an exchange of bemused smirks on the T over teenage idiocy.
This looking for small talk topics can edge into the vaguely inappropriate stalker territory. Yesterday I noticed a lady on the T uses the same notepad system I use for lists and remembering stuff. Since I was noticing, I caught a recipe listed out that looked interesting. So, did I A) use that to broach a stranger convo or B) did I pre-rehearse how that convo would sound out loud and decided not to say anything because hello CREEPY STALKER! Also, this morning I noticed a woman who has awesome hair at the length I want mine and with awesome color. Did I say anything? Pick option B. If you start going down the creepy small talk path, it is a slippery slope.