Tag Archives: small talk

How to Talk to Strangers 101: Wear a College Shirt

Berkeley shirt

Berkeley shirt

I pack light. For this seven week trip, I brought four shirts, two pairs of pants, some underwear and miscellany. One shirt is for sleeping, one is for exercising, and two are for everyday wear. One of the everyday wear shirts is solid black, which was a great choice. The other is a grey Berkeley shirt, which was not as great of a choice, mainly because the pitstains in it are huge, permanent, and growing.

In spite of the pits, however, it has been an incredible conversation starter. The conversations usually go like this:

Random stranger who sees my shirt: “Did you go to Berkeley?”

Me: “No, I actually didn’t. I found this shirt. In my apartment. When someone left it there who was staying with me. She was Australian.”

Random stranger: “Oh. Where did you go to school?”

Me: “Boston University, but now I live in San Francisco. I don’t know what the red dots splattered on this shirt are. It could be blood.”

Random stranger: “Oh. ”

Me: “Yeah.”

Variations include people who went to school at Berkeley, know someone who did, or wanted to go there. The shirt has started convos with a professor who used to play golf with Christopher Hitchens who stopped me on the street, the bouncer at a bar, a man on the bus and nearly countless others.

I think the moral of the story is that people in D.C. are kind of friendly. Also, shirts are great conversation starters. You shouldn’t be afraid to do it yourself either. In my case, that’d look like this:

Me: “I know I’m wearing this Berkeley shirt, but I actually didn’t go there. I went to Boston University and found this shirt when an Australian who was staying with me accidentally left it. She was studying abroad at Berkeley for the semester or something. The crazy thing is that I actually live in San Francisco now, so I don’t look out of place at all when I wear it there.”

Random stranger: “Excuse me – this is my stop.”

Me: “Wait, come back! There’s more to my story! I’m going to be an improv comedian!”

(Bus door closes)

Works like a charm.

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Hey, My Weekend was Great. Thanks for Asking.

Ask about my weekend. I dare you.

Ask about my weekend. I dare you.

Hey, thanks for asking how my weekend was. I appreciate you thinking of me on a Monday morning when we’re all desperately crowding around the coffee like bison around a watering hole in a dusty, dry summer. I’m going to choose to believe that your question was sincere and not just a way to distract me so you could take the second-to-last cup of coffee and avoid having to make another pot. So, thanks again. It was great.

Oh, you want to hear about something cool that I did. Oh great. I did tons of cool stuff that I can tell you about and I’d love to do that right now. I’d love for you to know every single thing that I did this weekend just so you can know how cool and relaxing and fulfilling my life is and how it completely validates everything I do at this office for 50 hours a week.

Oh, what did I do? Great. I’m so glad you asked for details. I’d love to tell you all the things that I did, so I’ll go ahead and do that now I guess.

On Friday I went home at 8:30 after going to happy hour where I tried a drink that was hot pink and tasted like a scream. I got home and tried to watch an episode of Arrested Development but IT WOULDN’T LOAD. So like a baller I wrote in my journal by candlelight for a little bit before going to bed at 9:20.

But get this, on Saturday I woke up before dawn and did a whole morning of vision-casting, trying to figure out what to do with my life. I created mad google docs and made sure to update my mint.com account with my recent cash purchase of coffee ($2.00) and answer any personal emails from the week. I pounded down some peanut butter oatmeal and a calcium chew and futzed around before taking a leisurely walk around Stowe Lake where I saw a couple making out.

But wait, it gets better. On Saturday night, I did things with my friends – like eat food and see a show. And on Sunday, I slept in until 8 am and took a freaking walk in the park and talked to my sister who I love and then I went to West Oakland where I bought 8 candles and did improv and then came back and made a mother flipping lentil dish before going to eat dinner with a friend.

So are you happy now? Are you happy now that you know every detail of my weekend? Do you feel like you know me better? Do you think what I did was cool? Because it wasn’t. Nothing of what I did was cool, and it never will be. BECAUSE MY WEEKEND WAS JUST LIKE YOURS. WE DID THE EXACT SAME STUFF AND WE HUNG OUT WITH FRIENDS AND ATE FOOD AND OUR LIVES ARE NOT INTERESTING.

So thanks for asking how my weekend was. How was yours?

P.S. What’s the deal with mayonnaise. Why does everyone hate it?

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