This topic is neither particularly insightful nor terribly original, but I’ve become acutely aware of the aforementioned annoyance since returning home from college. Forced to engage in reunions and graduation parties, I have found myself to be a victim of the very occurrence.
I loathe small talk, but I hate when it’s shrunk even smaller.
We live in a world of Automated Response: unnecessary well-wishing and rehashed interrogation, replete with rehearsed “thank you”s, “you too!”s and “good, and you?”s.
Listen in on just about any social interaction (perhaps excluding a gangbang) and you will hear the same repetitive lines of inquiries and replies.
“How are you?” “Good, and you?”
“How was school?” “Fun, thank you”
“What are your plans for the summer?” “Coming to terms with that time my piano instructor molested me.”
Clearly, we’ve all been privy to these tiresome exchanges.
Like bored wannabe thespians doomed to dinner theatre, we mindlessly run through the same shitty script for I Don’t Actually Care About You At All But Society Encourages Me To Engage In This Exercise of Insincerity II (And This Time, It’s Really Impersonal!”
Ever catch someone really asleep at the wheel? It’s fascinating.
He asks a question, she responds with an answer to what she assumed was asked. They both stare at each other in confusion, waiting for a respite from the unbearable discomfiture.
Me: So…I haven’t seen you for a while, didn’t your parents die in that awful --
Awkward Ashley: --Good! and you??!
Awkward Ashley: *half-smile*……….I’m gonna get a Vodka Soda!
It’s like a glitch in the Matrix. Love that!
Perhaps the best argument in the Case Against Courtesy is the Example of the Airline Ticket Agent.
How many times have you committed this gross injustice? You walk up to the terminal, hand the attendant your ticket.
Ticket Agent: Seat 42-F. Enjoy your flight.
You: Thanks! You Too!
A wave of fear seizes your body as you walk into the jet bridge.
“Why the fuck did I say ‘you too.’ She’s not going anywhere.”
That’s right. Now you’ve just reminded Maria, our lovely JetBlue employee, of her eternal economic mediocrity. She can’t even afford that Tumi messenger bag bouncing against your hip, much less a 6-day, 7-nighter to the Atlantis.
“Nope. No trip for me. I’m just going to sell my blood plasma to cover the rent for the next month. Fuck me, right?”
Good job, you soulless prick.
It won’t be long until I hear something like this:
Guy 1: Hey man, haven’t seen you in a while, how ya been?
Guy 2: Well…actually, I have pancreatic cancer. Doctor says I don’t have much time, maybe six weeks until I’m gone.
Guy 1: Good, that’s great! Where to? LA maybe? New York is so busy!
Thus, I call for a ban on the Automated Response and all it’s preprogrammed preposterousness. Next time you run into a familiar face, mix it up a little:
Me: Hey, long time no see! How’s that big thick cock of yours?
You: Goo—wait, what? You think so?