What is it about the school gates that make me so socially #awkward? I plan my drop offs so I don’t have to stand around the playground gassing with the other parents. But pick ups are different. The middle one tends to be the last one out, yeah, thanks for that Zach, so I have to stand around with absolutely nothing to do. Which means someone will make a beeline and start a conversation. This to me is the worst thing imaginable, why? I have no flipping clue. Any other social situation, I am fine. Husbands work do, friends baby-shower, hen parties or weddings, I.AM. COOL. So why do I find it so hard to make small talk with these people? I mean, I see them everyday. They’ve all mentioned their names a few times, and our kids have gone to each others parties. I often get someone trying to break the silence, “How’s about this weather ay?” That’s when my brain works overtime “Think of a witty comeback, think of something a bit funny, THINK OF A CLEVER REPLY”… “Oh, yeah, bit wet isn’t it <Awkward laugh>. Sigh. Is that all you could say? Damn you Sareta! Think of something better to say next time, you look like a plum. And whilst I’m going over the possible things I could have retorted, my chance for something else to say has passed. The opportunity to not sound like a stoosh bitch has gone. Hey, so parent, I did want to talk to you, but my vocabulary just couldn’t be utilised at that moment in time.
My phone comes out, I look concerned like I have an important call or email. It’s my saviour. Whilst I scroll through Facebook and non existent new emails other parents talk to each other whilst I secretly wish to be included. Witty banter, adult convo, an invitation to coffee whilst the kids are at school. It’s like my 9 year old self is amongst the adults and I don’t know what to say. I assume they’re not into what I am, they don’t dress like me, they’re not my people. Do they understand hashtags and laugh at memes? Would they laugh if I joked about the latest viral funny guy? Probably, but I just haven’t figured out the art of small talk. So, am I missing out? Y’all aren’t friends out of school, you just know what words to say and put them together to form conversations. I could do that. Couldn’t I? Nay. I know I’m not the only one, because we, the quiet ones have spoken. We plucked up the courage to do the small talk, it felt natural, we glowed with happiness, we imagined at that point in time that WE COULD be friends. Then, the next day we have absolutely nothing else to say. We used up all the possible sentences, questions, words in one sitting. Sigh. So it’s just a quick hello, have a nice weekend till something like the school holidays occur so we have some new material. Is this life? I guess it’s mine, and some of yours. Socially “School Gate” Awkward isn’t just my condition. It’s in us normal folk too. I see you, I see you with your phone and talking to your newborns. I may ask you about the weather just to throw you off one day just to keep the awkwardness going.
Sareta Fontaine is the founder of Kiki Blah-Blah; a modern lifestyle blog aimed initially at mum’s but has since grown. Since 2016, Sareta has worked on the platform, both designing and creating a space for other bloggers to share their thoughts and feelings, while also sharing hers.