Striking up a conversation with a stranger is not a difficult task if you are not too shy. You look up and talk about the weather and share your ‘knowledge’ of the forecast for tomorrow or what you think is about to happen. If you are indoors you can still talk about the weather outside. If it fails, well, you know then that the conversation is not going any further.
But if you succeed in grabbing your listener’s attention, then you can talk about work and government and so on. Almost everyone has some thoughts or opinions about these matters.
To start a conversation using these topics or just keep talking about these general issues is a phenomenon called ‘small talk’.
I am not particularly great at starting these conversations, but it happens here and there. If I know I am going to spend a good while in a place with people around, I would normally say something to the person next to me and see how things go from there.
Needless to say that when people recognise my accent and are informed where I am from, they ‘remind me’ of ‘RRRRonaldinho!’ and ‘Samba!’. It is nice – they are making an effort to see the progress of the conversation – but our country is rich and full of other talents in other areas. I want people to know more about us; even more about football and carnival.
Tan Tan Tan Tan …. Tan Tan Tan Tan
Being far away I try to enjoy each opportunity to see Brazilian productions or programmes that have something to do with Brazilian culture. It was a pity that Elite Squad (‘Tropa de Elite’) was on the cinemas for only a few days. Thankfully, there are other occasions to see the tupiniquim culture in action and spread the news about them.
My greatest surprise last year was the documentary movie Senna. Wow! Senna’s personality, private life, social concerns and family bonds are well put together. It is a great collection and the whole documentary is a tasteful tribute to such a fantastic sportsman and human being. I love Senna’s speeches and interviews in English and I especially enjoy when I see images with audio in Portuguese and the subtitles in English. It’s a piece of our culture translated to others.
A ‘big’ talk
The movie brought to mind why I loved Sunday mornings when I was a teenager; when the family just rushed to be in front of TV and wait for Senna to wave our beautiful flag. He always made our week start with a big smile.
I definitely have to use more Senna’s example to illustrate my ‘small talks’ on Brazilian culture. It’s not ‘small talk’ really. Without Ayrton Senna the history of sport in Brazil would be very different. I am so grateful for what he was and for what he did to the country. I believe everyone is. It was devastating to lose him so soon and everything that came from his talent and personality. Yet, to have the story of someone like him to tell is a privilege.
Haven’t seen the movie yet? Get a taste right now.