"Nice weather isn't it" would have been okay
I'm not very good at making small talk.
This might come as a surprise to anyone who has met me. I'm guessing that most people would describe me as a friendly person.
Put me in a room with an ambassador, or a former U.S. president, or the chairman of the FCC, and I'll be just fine because we'll have something specific to talk about. Where there is a purpose or agenda, I'm totally in my element. I can immerse myself into the conversation and there isn't a hint of shyness.
But chances are that when I get home from work and pull into my driveway and see my neighbour, with whom I have had a casual acquaintance for close to 7 years and is the nicest person you'll ever meet, I'll just babble incoherently because I really have nothing interesting to say.
Like yesterday, when I got home, my son Ryan (age 21 months) was standing on the front porch. He saw me pull into the driveway and figured out how to open the front door. My neighbour, who was tending to his garden, called over to me: "He's getting big!"
"I know!" I replied.
"I remember John when he was that age." John is his son, and he's maybe 25 years old.
"Long time ago!" I replied.
"Sure was," he said. "They grow so fast."
"I know! Ryan can open the door now! We have to keep a close eye on him!"
"Oh, he'll get into all sorts of trouble, you just wait!" he said.
"I know!" I replied. "Did you hear about those two kids in Listowel a few months ago?"
He gave me a quizzical look.
"Two little boys, they were both only two years old," I continued. "It was in the middle of the afternoon and their parents fell asleep, or passed out drunk, who knows, and the two boys got out of the house and got into their neighbour's house, and just destroyed it! I mean they completely trashed it! Holes in the wall, paint spilled everywhere, all the dishes broken on the floor, plants dug up, carpet and wallpaper torn, it was terrible! Apparently they were at it for over two hours before the neighbour got home and stopped them. They just demolished the poor guy's house!"
At this point my neighbour is staring at me incredulously, and I realize what I'm saying.
"But don't worry," I hasten to add. "He--" I point to Ryan "--would NEVER do that to YOUR house."
This comment did not help.
I continue with a nervous laugh. "And uh, we don't get drunk in the afternoon and pass out on the couch." I quicken my pace, talking and walking. "Unless they were just taking a nap. Not drunk. Don't know. Wasn't there." I'm practically running toward my front door now. "Well I'd better get going, okay, see you later!!!" sprinting the last few steps to my house. I whisk Ryan up in my arms and go inside.
I don't know why I babble like that. I know it's embarrassing but I don't do it on purpose.
In hindsight, I could have just commented on the nice weather we've been having.
Or if the weather wasn't nice, tell a good fart joke.