1. What college someone went to.
Whenever someone asks me what college I went to, I instinctively do this trick where I actually fall asleep with my eyes open. It’s amazing! College feels so far removed from my life now that it’s like trying to bond over that two weeks I spent running track in high school because I wanted a letter jacket. I don’t want to talk about my college and I definitely don’t want to hear about yours. So let’s get it out of the way: No, I don’t know your friend who went to a different college in the same town; no, I haven’t watched the MAAC this year or ever; yes, I’ve actually done a number of things since I was a student and they’re probably more interesting than four years of wearing skanky Halloween costumes and popping Adderall. Let’s change the subject, I beg you.
2. News about celebrities.
I understood the appeal of celebrity gossip when I was a teenager whose daily highlight was figuring out which of my friends would drive to McDonald’s after school, but Christ almighty are celebrities boring. Unless one is right in front of my face, in which case they are a magnificent unicorn on whom my gaze must lock until they’re out of eyeshot (and that’s only if I recognize them, which I probably won’t unless they’ve appeared in my dreams, shirtless). Anyway, celebrities are just regular people with jobs who have a lot of money and are sometimes attractive. Wait — you mean some rich person had a baby and got divorced and cheated on their boyfriend with a married film director? STOP THE PRESSES. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME ANYTHING LIKE THIS HAS EVER HAPPENED AND I NEED TO REVIEW THE AUDIO VISUALS. Really though, this gossip had the potential to be interesting if it were about someone I know. Speaking of which…
3. News about people I don’t know in general.
What the hell am I supposed to say to a story about someone I don’t know? “Ooh, Karen is moving to Chicago? That’s so… Karen of her!” It’s not like I have to be familiar with the subject of every conversation I have. Ideally, I’d like to be taught or introduced to something new, but I’ll be attentive to any salacious story if it involves embarrassing sex or family estrangement… something along those lines. But please, please, please — if this is a story to which there is no clear ending or point about a person I will never meet, a story you’re telling me because you feel uncomfortable with the alternative — silence — well… I’m here to tell you that silence is okay. There are worse things than being quiet. Like being boring.
4. Conversations that aren’t conversations.
I have encountered people who are able to confine and talk at someone without having an actual conversation. There’s no clear subject or dialogue… but there is intoxication and a few aggressive quips of which the punch line is misguided or nonexistent. That’s not a conversation, right? Because this person is looking directly at me, and they’re saying words, but they’re not leaving space between the words for me to respond, and I’m not even clear on what I would say if I were granted the opportunity.
Them: YOU — what are you doing sitting there you should drink like me I have a drink and you don’t where is your drink I will get you one is that a tattoo I have a tattoo it’s a dog with an umbrella don’t look at it you don’t like it I can tell let me sit on your lap.
5. How people who take pictures of food should stop taking pictures of food
We get it. People should stop taking pictures of their food. People should also stop talking about people who take pictures of their food. And for the record, if someone has made the dish they’re taking a photo of? Well frick yeah, I wanna see it. How are you supposed to know which of your friends can feed you in your time of need when you’re getting off on banning food porn, you goddamn photo Nazi? Seriously, though. If I ever need help in the kitchen, I know who to call and that’s all thanks to food photography. I’m in your corner, foodies. Now invite me over for lunch.