Last night I went to the grocery store. As I was about to go inside Isaw a girl I went to high school with walking out. No sooner than mybrain could process this information my body went into an instinctiveevasive maneuver. I almost twisted my ankle trying to escape asituation that without a doubt would have been excruciatingly awkward.I am not a rude person and I hardly even know this girl aside from thefact that she went to my school, but I have this thing about doingthings that are unnecessary. If I see you and we know each other, asimple "Hello" or "How are you?" will do just fine. Anything more thanthat and we are already wasting our time. Do you really care how I am?Well if so, why don't you check in more frequently? You have my cellphone number, right? Oh wait you don't? Well now is not the time toask for it. And since it is highly likely that I don't have yourcontact information either, why don't we just keep it that way? I havehad a cell phone with the same 10-12 numbers in it for a while now andI can't say I have ever regretted not having yours. It isn't so muchthat I don't like you (though that may actually be the case), it's morethat you are unnecessary to me, and because of my strong aversion toall things unnecessary we should just avoid this situation in thefuture. I feel this to be an appropriate time to make a distinctionbetween those people who don't know I don't want to talk to them, andthose who do (or at least should) know I don't want to talk to them.That girl walking out of the grocery store? I can forgive her for notknowing. I still don't want to talk to her, but in the end I canforgive her. The person standing in the doorway of my office talking ATme while I read a book or stare at my computer screen? I cannot forgiveyou. What part of me sitting there not making eye contact, not lookingaway from my book or computer screen and not responding to anything youare saying gives you the impression that I am listening, let alonetrying to engage in a reciprocal conversation with you? Those areobvious signs that I am not listening! It's not like I am sitting therenodding along saying things like "yeah" or "I hear you" or going thatextra step to rephrase your sentence in the form of a question so thatit seems like I am being attentive. If you have to sit there and say,"Right?, Ya' know?, How about that? Ya' know what I mean?", thenI am not listening. I can forgive you for not knowing I don't care, butwhen I make it so painfully obvious that I am not listening thenfucking please stop talking!
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