Small Talk

“What’s this button do?”

I looked at the shifter my son was pointing at. We were in our minivan, getting ready to go shopping. “It lets me shift into drive,” I said, demonstrating. “It prevents the shifter from getting bumped accidentally.”

“Oh,” he said. “That explains it!”

“Explains what?” I asked.

“Never mind,” he said. “I just tried to shift it once, and it didn’t move. I didn’t know why.”

“You tried to shift the minivan into drive?”

“It wasn’t this car!” he said quickly. “It was our old minivan. Before we got this one.”

I looked at him without saying anything.

“No, no, no!” he said. “I wasn’t doing anything wrong.”

I continued watching him.

“Okay,” he said, gesturing with his hands. “It was with Mom. She had just gotten out of the car. . .” His voice trailed off.

“Are you done getting yourself in trouble?” I asked.

He nodded. “This is why I hate small talk.”


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