Thursday, January 27, 2011

We're All Fine

In the mind-numbing course of my average day, I am forced to make absurd small talk with my customers. It’s not that I don’t occasionally enjoy these short, mostly forgotten interactions; they just seem fake and unnecessary. We generally chat about the weather or some other completely dull topic which has no bearing on what we are doing there in the first place. I work inside all day; I don’t really care what the weather is like because I’m outside long enough to get to and from my car and back to the safety of my little cave of steel. Other times their speech is such jabberwocky I revert to the simple and effective smile and nod. If you’re unfamiliar with this strategy I’ll explain: when approached by the gibbering offender and some common understanding cannot be reached, you smile at them and nod as they speak, feigning comprehension. It’s best not to look completely befuddled as you do this.

Anyways, the rare occasion happened the other day where a customer engaging in small talk actually led me to coherent thought. I was probably picking my nose or some other useless activity to get me through the painful day so I can go home and dread the next painful day when the customer approached. I greeted her and she asked me how I was. I said fine and reflected the question back, to which she answered: “Fine, I have to be.”

Fine, I have to be. That got me thinking. When was the last time you asked someone that and they said, “Well just terrible! I lost my cell phone in the toilet because I caught myself in my nipper this morning after I got done with some of the most painful and profuse diarrhea I’ve ever had and now my car won’t start because a colony of mice has crawled into it and set up a casino and tracks.” Yeah, you’ve never heard that, everyone is always fine, good or okay, even when their not. Are we afraid to tell people how we really feel? Or are we afraid to tell people the truth and fine out they didn’t really care in the first place. I guess we are all just being polite because we don’t think anyone wants to hear about our problems; we are probably right. So I guess we are all fine, because we have to be.

P.S. In case you were wondering, I'm going to make Thursday my normal post day from now forward. So unless I have some sort of time specific post you'll know when to check back.


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