Unlike some who make small talk about the weather, office life, and lunch while thinking of greater things, Trey Hill of Charleston, South Carolina, actually walks the small talk, in that his life is truly and entirely composed of only banal and trivial things. And the small talk life is a life that Trey loves.
"It's the small things in life that matter," said Trey. "Why talk about anything else? And for that matter, why live anything else?"
As with many small talk aficionados, one of Trey's favored topics of discussion is the weather. "Warm and sunny this morning in Lowcountry," he remarked. "But I'm not a big fan of humidity. If you ask me, we've got the market cornered on humidity here in Charleston!" He laughed and added, "Although come to think of it, New Orleans might have something to say about that.""
Trey followed up with a detailed discussion of the weather in other cities, showcasing knowledge gained from hours of watching the Weather Channel the previous evening. "I'm a big fan of the Weather Channel," said Trey. He checked his watch. "In fact, there's a low pressure system moving in right about now. Watch out - could get a little hairy."
While weather is probably Trey's preferred topic of superficial conversation, his colleagues say that he also demonstrates a sincere and avid interest in what they had or plan to have for breakfast and lunch. Notably, while Trey's a big fan of pizza, he's not a big fan of pineapple on pizza.
"I just don't get it," said Trey with a baffled shrug. "Call me old-school, but the only fruit I want anywhere near my cheese is a tomato. Unless of course, pepperoni is a fruit." He grinned. "Or wait, isn't that a vegetable?"
And it's not just pizza that he enjoys discussing; Trey's also a big fan of discussing breakfast foods. "Does it get any better than grits?" he's frequently heard to ask rhetorically. "With a big ol' dollop of butter just melting, real gentle-like? Yeah, big fan of grits - big fan."
And last but not least - in case you haven't already gleaned - Trey is an especially big fan of talking about what he is - and isn't - a big fan of.
Small as Trey's talk may be, it's a big hit at the paper mill where he's been employed for over 12 years. His colleagues agree that they've come to really appreciate Trey's genuine, all-consuming absorption in the superficial things of life.
"When I'm around Trey, my existential angst goes right out the window along with the low pressure systems he's always talking about," said Trey's supervisor, Terri Thorne. "With him, I don't ever have to think."
Trey chuckled heartily at that last remark. Jokingly defensive, he protested, "Hey, I think! In fact, all day long today I've been thinking, thank God it's Friday! I'm a big fan of Fridays."
Terri chuckled, too. "See what I mean? He never fails. Never."