AWEnestly, look at that doll...is she pointing at me in a "I'm coming for you next?" kind of way (shudder)? That doll is so freaky and as a fourth grader had I known how offensive the nickname "Chatty Kathy" was, I would have put one of those creepy, possessed looking dolls under my teacher's bed with a toy knife in it's hand. Who needs a tack on teacher's chair, when a Chatty Cathy doll lies await under teacher's bed? Dan, who is not a small talker and who amazingly has not put a Chatty Cathy doll under our bed to scare me into silence, once told me that I could befriend and small talk with a fence post. As long as the fence post occasionally creaked to show some type of interest in what I was chatting about, I probably could befriend and chat with a fence post. A fence post isn't nearly as scary as Chatty Cathy.
Small talk is a way of social bonding, a way of trying to fit in or be accepted. Ryan spends very little time concerning himself with fitting in. That's not to say that Ryan does not care about fitting in, but, socializing, bonding, and fitting in exhaust Ryan. Socializing for Ryan means too many social cues that he misses, too many words with double meanings, too many facial expressions that are hard to read and too much body language that is hard to interpret. More times than not, Ryan decides that small talk and "fitting in" is all just way too hard and not worth the risk, so he frequently chooses to be alone. Small talk is also used as a way to start or end a conversation or to fill in that awkward silence in a conversation many of us find uncomfortable. Since conversing is difficult for Ryan, and since silence to him is not awkward, but, a welcome relief, it makes perfect sense that for Ryan, small talk is BIG.
Thank God for minerals, rocks and an AWEsome science teacher. Those five minutes were a gift so beautiful and so amazing that my gift of gab only interrupted twice...and he called me on it both times by saying, "I wasn't finished yet.", and that's when I almost struck a light pole (Clearly Ryan's moments of small talk should not happen while I'm driving.). "I wasn't finished yet.", meant Ryan didn't give up, he didn't shut down because mom couldn't shut up, small talk got hard, but, Ryan stuck it out. Autism raised it's hand to cover Ryan's mouth and he crushed that hand with a big chunk of pyrite (aka Fool's Gold...I knew that one). Wow! It was without a doubt, the most amazing small talk, I have ever engaged in...and I'm still gushing over it.